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Politicians lie, but tax pledge numbers don’t

Liberals and Republicans in Name Only hate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge with, as Diane Chambers once put it on “Cheers,” “the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.” And there’s a very good reason for that.

It works.

In signing the tax pledge, a candidate promises the voters of his or her district that he or she will “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

And the reason for fiscal conservatives to oppose all efforts to increase taxes isn’t to oppose tax hikes for the sake of opposing tax hikes. It’s to deny government additional funding to grow bigger.

Indeed, if your political philosophy is that of a limited government fiscal conservative, the best strategy for achieving that objective is to “starve the beast.” It’s just that simple.

And the simple fact is those who sign the pledge vote against tax and fee (taxes by another name) hikes far more often than those who don’t. Rare is the case of an elected official — such as Republican Assembly Speaker John Hambrick — who completely disavows a promise to voters and goes over to the “dark side.”

Citizen Outreach CEO Dan Burdish recently completed a study of the tax-hike votes by members of the Nevada State Assembly for the 2015 legislative session. He identified 32 recorded votes on bills that increased taxes or fees.

And Hambrick voted for every one of them.

As did Republican Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson and defrocked former Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey.

Forget the Three Amigos. These are the Three RINOs.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, three Republican pledge signers had perfect no-new-taxes voting records: Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, Assemblyman John Moore and Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton. The other six pledge signers only rarely voted for a tax or fee hike, ranging from two transgressions to nine.

But not one of them voted for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s largest tax hike in Nevada history.

On the other hand, a number of self-described “conservative” Republicans who refused to sign the tax pledge literally voted like Democrats.

The best of the worst was Assemblyman David Gardner, who voted in favor of 22 of the 32 tax hikes. Assemblyman Chris Edwards voted for 26 tax hikes. Assemblyman Erv Nelson voted for 27 of them. Taxation Committee Chairman Derek Armstrong and Assemblyman James Oscarson voted for higher taxes 29 out of 32 times.

And Carson City Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill, who replaced tax pledge signer Pete Livermore this session, voted for 30 of the 32 tax hikes.

The numbers don’t lie and the lesson is clear: If you don’t want your taxes to go up so the government blob can grow bigger, vote only for candidates who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

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