I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be surprised one iota if Jonathan Gruber himself hasn’t been hired to craft the propaganda campaign that’s underway to pass Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s (R&R Partners) 2015-17 budget.
You remember Mr. Gruber, don’t you? He’s the guy who got caught on tape saying, as described by Wikipedia, that Obamacare “was misleadingly crafted and/or marketed in order to get the bill passed, while in some of the videos he specifically refers to American voters as ill-informed or ‘stupid.’ ”
Look out, Nevadans, you’re being Gruberized.
Here are the facts. In 2009, the Nevada Legislature — more accurately, Democrats and liberal Republicans in the Legislature — passed a package of what was sold to voters as a “temporary” tax hike designed so that our state government could avoid the necessary streamlining of operations, including layoffs, that American business owners were being forced into thanks to the Great Obama-Reid Recession.
That package of “temporary” tax hikes — including a sales tax hike, a hike in vehicle registration fees, a doubling of the business license fee, and an outrageously insane tax penalty on businesses for every person they hire — was vetoed by conservative Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Tax-hiking legislators passed what would become known as the “sunsets” over the governor’s veto.
Brian Sandoval, a legislative back-bencher in the mid-1990s, then ran against Gibbons in the 2010 GOP primary and defeated him. Not by promising to continue the sunsets beyond their 2011 expiration date. But by pledging, in no uncertain terms, that he would let them die.
He was elected.
And then promptly broke his word.
He broke it again in 2013, building the sunsets into his budget and forcing them through with support from go-along-to-get-along Republican legislators such as Senate moderate Mike Roberson, who was against the sunsets before he was for them.
Well, it’s déjà vu all over again this year. The governor is proposing yet another massive $600 million-plus worth of higher taxes on Nevadans through yet another extension of those temporary tax hikes that are proving harder to kill than a meth-head vampire.
But this time, there’s a kicker.
In addition to once again extending the sunsets, the governor also will reportedly propose an additional $400 million-plus gross receipts tax on certain Nevada businesses. The same kind of gross receipts tax that Nevada voters overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot just two months ago by nearly 80 percent.
Of course, Sandoval’s new-and-improved version will be lemon-scented, but it’s still going to require the same level of deception and dishonesty Gruber used to sell Obamacare. That’s why the tax hike is already being misleadingly marketed as for education. It’s for the children, you see.
The question is whether or not Nevadans and their elected legislators will be “ill-informed” and “stupid” enough to fall for it.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.