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Bait-switch scheme makes politicians untrustworthy

By now everyone knows that 80 percent of Nevada voters voted against the margins tax last November and that Gov. Brian Sandoval's "commerce tax" is just a mutated version of it. But here are some things many folks either aren't aware of or are forgetting about the whole debacle.

It started when Sandoval proposed a budget that didn't live within the means projected by the Economic Forum last December. Instead, he used his state-of-the-state address in January to propose a Christmas wish list of new feel-good/big government spending programs that would shoot the budget into the stratosphere.

For the children, of course.

He then proposed his "business license fee." Senate Bill 252 was introduced in March and should have immediately been declared D.O.A. (dead on arrival) by the state Assembly which, according to one whip count shared with me, had more than 20 no votes against it.

Thanks to the Gibbons Tax Restraint law requiring a two-thirds super-majority vote for tax hikes, only 15 no votes were needed to kill it.

Instead, the feeble GOP "leaders" in the Assembly opted to drag out the process by "studying" the proposal and giving it "proper hearings" even though the vast majority knew from jump street they were going to vote against it. And that delay played right into the tax hikers' hands.

It's an old trick the Democrats have been playing on water-head (sounds nicer than "stupid") Republicans in Carson City for years.

Instead of doing what Nevada's businesses and families do with their budgets every day — determine how much they have to spend andthendecide how to spend it — GOP leaders started approving spending bills for various government departments first with no idea how they were going to pay for it.

Meanwhile, the 120-day session clock continued to tick. Time was running out. And with just a week to go, the tax hikers pulled another fast one.

Recognizing they couldn't get the votes to pass SB252 as a stand-alone bill in the Assembly, they ignored the constitutional single subject restriction on legislation and "log rolled" the business license fee into SB483, the bill making the "temporary" sunset taxes permanent.

That gimmick, combined with considerable arm-twisting and brow-beating from All the Governor's Men, was enough to get the necessary number of Gumby Republicans to break their campaign promises and vote for the largest tax hike in Nevada history, including the creation of a new gross receipts tax and the establishment of a new "Nevada IRS" to enforce it.

Nevada voters were misled and scammed by a Republican majority that concocted a bait-and-switch scheme that would land business owners in jail if they tried to pull something similar. No wonder people trust used car salesmen more than they trust politicians.

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass roots advocacy organization. He can be reached atwww.muthstruths.com.