I take a bit of a contrary position from many conservatives about the meaning of this last election.
You see, I don’t see it as a referendum in favor of a superstrong conservative agenda, much as I wish it were otherwise. Indeed, the victories of 2014 weren’t like those of 1994’s Contract With America or 2010’s rise of the tea party. Instead, this was really more of an election that Democrats conceded — like Republicans did in 2006 — than of conservatism winning.
That said, there’s also no mandate to govern as moderates either.
Name one Republican legislative or statewide candidate in Nevada who ran this year as a moderate, not a conservative. Name one Republican who ran in 2014 — including Gov. Brian Sandoval, who ran on a platform of “Elect me and I’ll jack up your taxes.” Name one Republican who ran in 2014 on a platform of “Elect me and I’ll explode government spending by $1 billion dollars.”
There ain’t any.
So while there may be no mandate to adopt everything on the wish list conservatives sent to Santa right after the November election, neither is there a mandate to deviate from core conservative principles of less government and lower taxes. If certain Republicans wanted to grow government and raise taxes, they should have run on such a platform.
So although conservatives may not get the dramatic reductions in government and taxes we want in this coming legislative session, neither should the moderates get the dramatic increase in government and taxes they want in this coming session.
The economic forum estimates that taxpayers will provide the government an allowance of $6.3 billion during the next biennium. Nevada’s government overspends around $6.7 billion, funded partially by a “temporary” tax hike package from 2009 in the neighborhood of $600 million that needs to finally have a stake driven through its cold, black heart this session.
So the plan of action should be to eliminate the “sunsets” and cut $400 million out of the budget.
Let’s start with rolling back every program the governor and legislators expanded during the past two sessions, and cancel all the new programs foolishly and recklessly adopted in the middle of the Great Recession, including that expansion of Medicaid.
Then rearrange the deck chairs.
If you want more money for education, take the money from some other part of the budget that isn’t as important or isn’t a proper function of the government in the first place.
Still not enough revenue? Then I suggest we embrace the notion that you get less of that which you tax and begin taxing welfare payments, food stamps, unemployment and government employee labor unions.
So let it be written; so let it be done.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.