weather icon Clear

Look out taxpayers, here come the Republicans

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

When Republicans won the governor’s office, as well as control of the state Senate and the Assembly last November, Nevada taxpayers were supposed to be safe. At least for this one session.

Indeed, for this one session — the first time the GOP has held all three lawmaking arms in 86 long years — you’d think the biennial rite of taxpayer pick-pocketing would at least be temporarily suspended and Republicans would get down to the hard but essential work of cutting nonessential spending.

Alas, Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity.

In just the first month of the 2015 legislative session, Republicans have already voted four separate times in favor of a tax hike — and they’re just getting warmed up. Grab your wallets and head for the hills!

Republicans in the Senate voted unanimously to bypass the people who originally voted for 10-year property tax hikes for schools and automatically extended those tax hikes for an additional 10 years (Senate Bill 119). This tax hike would transfer billions from homeowners’ pockets to the government.

Republicans initially sweetened this bitter tax hike with a provision banning the cost-inflating union welfare program known as “prevailing wage” for school construction projects. As such, the bill passed with no Democrat votes.

However, some conservative Republicans in the Assembly opposed this massive tax hike even with the spoonful of prevailing wage sugar added. So the GOP-led Senate introduced a new “emergency” bill (SB207) that kept the tax hike but removed the prevailing wage prohibition.

The new “clean” tax hike bill also passed, picking up the 10 Senate Democrats but losing four of the 11 Republicans.

With the prevailing wage provision removed, the stripped-down tax hike easily picked up all 17 Democrats in the Assembly, as well as, unbelievably, 10 Republicans, including two — Speaker John Hambrick and Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman — who signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising their constituents they would “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

Then, just days after sticking it to property owners, Republicans in the Assembly stuck it to hunters, one of their most loyal constituencies, by doubling the tax on elk hunting tags. Only two Republicans, Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton and Assemblyman John Moore, voted against the Elk Tax (Assemblywoman Michele Fiore was absent), which now moves to the GOP-controlled Senate where it will surely pass and be signed by the governor.

So after just four weeks of being back in charge after being out in the legislative wilderness for so many decades, the uncontrolled tax-and-spend urges traditionally exhibited by Democrats in the past are really not much different from the tax-and-spend urges now being exhibited by Republicans.

The GOP never blows an opportunity to blow an opportunity.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.