Morning Source

The coming tax fight

There’s an opportunity ahead for Nevada Republicans.

October 14, 2021

The coming tax fight...

Get ready, friends. There’s another tax-hike battle on the horizon.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:
“Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has informed the attorney general’s office she will not allow the authors of two petitions to increase the state sales and gaming taxes to withdraw those measures from the 2022 ballot.”
In a letter, Cegavske cited constitutional language that “requires the Secretary of State to follow a procedure once an initiative petition has obtained the required number of verified signatures.” The operative constitutional provision provides no means for withdrawal.
A little background: You may recall that in the final hours of the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session, several Republican Senators and Assembly members joined Democrats in voting to raise taxes on the state’s mining industry, delivering the necessary votes to meet the constitutionally required two-thirds supermajorities for legislative tax hikes. The Republican votes were part of a deal under which the aforementioned initiative petitions’ authors — the Clark County teachers union — agreed to withdraw the petitions. But now, it appears those petitions are headed to the ballot anyway.
Three key points on this:

  1. The tax-hike petitions are awful. As the Review-Journal’s Victor Joecks notes: “The first would increase the top gaming tax rate on gross revenue from 6.75 percent to 9.75 percent. The second would increase the sales tax by 1.5 percentage points. In Clark County, that would make the sales tax almost 10 percent.” For the sake of Nevada’s economy, which is still fighting its way out of the COVID/shutdown-caused crash, the initiatives must be defeated at the polls.
  2. The politics of all this provide a big opportunity for Nevada Republicans. Democrats now face the prospect of having to run in 2022 with a couple of massive tax hikes on the ballot, which should energize conservative voters. Stipulating that the likely forthcoming legal challenge may or may not ultimately keep the initiatives off the ballot, Joecks notes that if they do indeed go before voters next fall, “it’ll be a major headache for Democrats. The sales tax increase is likely to be enormously unpopular.”
  3. The miscalculation of the tax-hiking, deal-cutting Republicans during this year’s session looks especially egregious now. Not only did their votes enable the passage of that tax hike while providing Democrats bipartisan cover, it now appears that the half of the deal those GOP lawmakers thought they were getting has gone up in smoke. Shrewd.

As noted, the courts will probably have to weigh in on the initiatives before their fate is ultimately sealed, so stay tuned. But buckle up, friends … either way, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Opportunity lost...

Speaking of the courts, Nevada’s Supreme Court dealt a blow this past week both to Nevada’s constitution and to its lower-income students.
The Court let stand legislative Democrats’ 2019 gutting of the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, which should have required two-thirds supermajorities in both houses since it unquestionably leads to more revenue coming into the general fund. Yet the Supremes ruled that in this case, the simple majorities Democrats had were sufficient. The decision not only flies in the face of the clear constitutional language; it’s also a punch to the gut for the lower-income students who benefit from the program.
Once again, it’s the Review-Journal’s Victor Joecks who does a marvelous job of shredding the Court’s dubious reasoning here, and we encourage you to read his full column on the matter.
But here’s the critical passage:
“You might think a bill increasing general fund revenue would require a two-thirds because that’s what the constitution literally says.
“But the court concluded the bill ‘does not increase public revenue but instead redirects funds from a specific appropriation to the State General Fund.’
“How the government can redirect money it wasn’t going to have isn’t explained. People keeping their own money isn’t government spending.”


‘An appalling abuse of power’...

A lot of folks have weighed in on the Biden Justice Department’s outrageous attack on parents who have been going to school-board meetings to voice concerns over critical race theory and other issues.
Suffice it to say, there is zero justification for the federal government sticking its nose into what is clearly a matter for local governments and citizens to work out. Not to mention the chilling crackdown on free speech this represents. (See here for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s horrifying memo.)
This piece from the editors of National Review is particularly strong, and we encourage you to give it a read. As they put it:
"The Garland memo ... is a crass intimidation tactic ... on the part of a politicized Justice Department in an administration that is cowed by and desperate to appease the radical Left. It is an appalling abuse of power that must be resisted, including by Republicans who hope to convince the public to give them control of Congress — and the control of the Justice Department’s enforcement budget that comes with it."

Malaise, redux...

The evidence continues to mount that President Biden’s agenda has been disastrous for the national economy, with last week’s jobs report representing only the latest bit of bad news.
Here’s Fox Business’ Alfredo Ortiz:
"Friday's jobs report offers fresh evidence that Americans are falling behind under President Joe Biden. It shows meager job creation far below expectations and a falling labor force participation rate reminiscent of the Obama years. It also reveals average wages grew slower than inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, meaning Americans' real wages are falling. This Biden pay cut is decreasing the living standards of ordinary Americans." 
That's not all:
"Consumers and small business owners are feeling the painful effects of inflation in their everyday lives on everything from groceries to raw materials. The price of gas has increased by 50 percent since Biden was elected. Shrinkflation, where consumers get less for the same price, is widespread."
You can read the rest of the ugly details here.

Do as they say…

And finally this week, Fox News’ Houston Keene reports that, “New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was caught maskless at an indoor ball weeks after imposing a mask mandate for young children in school.”
We know it won’t surprise you in the least to learn that Murphy is a Democrat. And get this: The story notes that the event was held in “a part of the Monmouth County that has the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
What, was the Obamas’ Martha’s Vineyard summer home not available?


“No government in the history of the world has ever spent more money than Joe Biden is spending right now.”  Tucker Carlson