Sandoval’s bluff on budget challenge answered

Do you know the most outrageous thing about Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s (R&R Partners) billion-dollar tax hike proposal?

It’s not just that it’s the largest tax hike in state history. And it’s not that he’s broken just about every campaign promise he made on taxes and spending in 2010.

No, it’s that he didn’t have enough respect for the citizens of Nevada to level with them and tell them exactly what he intended to do to them during the 2014 campaign despite the fact that his general election opponent was so weak that he actually lost to “None of the Above” in the Democrat primary.

Reporter Ray Hagar recently wrote that, in an editorial board interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal in October, Sandoval spoke of revamping Nevada’s “revenue streams” and was asked specifically if that meant raising taxes. Sandoval’s reported response: “You’ll find out.”

Indeed, the governor hid his plan to sock Nevada’s citizens and businesses with a tax giga-hike until more than two months after the ballots were counted. Sandoval’s “hide the ball” decision was every bit as deceptive, dishonest and insulting as Jonathan Gruber’s campaign to pass Obamacare.

Nevertheless, that’s the hand dealt from the bottom on the deck Nevada’s citizens are now forced to play.

Understandably, conservative critics of the largest tax hike in Nevada history wasted no time coming out in opposition, earning themselves a dressing down from the governor. For those who oppose his billion-dollar tax hike, Sandoval demanded that they say, “This is where I’m going to cut.”

That, not surprisingly considering the source, is a disingenuous argument and challenge. But I’ll take it.

According to public records, there are some 30 full-time employees in the budget and planning division of the administration department of the executive branch who cost taxpayers more than $2 million a year combined. That in addition to another 30-plus employees working elsewhere for the state of Nevada as “budget analysts” at Lord knows how much cost to taxpayers.

So here’s the deal, governor …

I don’t need four years to come up with a budget that lives within the taxpayers’ means. Instead, just give me the same army of number-crunchers, full-time, for just 30 days. And not only will I deliver to you a balanced budget alternative without raising taxes, I’ll give you a budget that actually cuts taxes.

You see, the problem here isn’t that there’s no way. The problem here is that there’s no will. The governor has surrounded himself with advisers and appointees who want to grow government, not shrink it. Personnel is policy. Sandoval is simply listening to the wrong people.

Instead, he should listen to the voters, who just crushed a similar tax hike at the ballot box in November by almost 80 percent! Read their lips, governor.

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

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