A tax hike not even liberals can love

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

A tax hike not even liberals can love

Close your eyes and remember Nov. 6, 2012. President Obama had just won a seven-point victory here in Nevada on his way to a second term. Freedom-lovers were disappointed and discouraged. Leftists were predicting years of liberal dominance. 

Imagine if I told you then that less than two years later, these three things would happen:

  • The highest-profile Democrat on Nevada’s November 2014 ballot would come out in opposition to a tax increase on businesses.
  • The AFL-CIO would come out in opposition to a tax-increase measure it helped get on the ballot. In its resolution opposing the tax, it would reference how raising taxes kills jobs and harms the economy.
  • Delegates to the Clark County Democratic Party Convention would decline to support a tax hike on businesses.

You’d have said I was crazy, right?

But that’s exactly what’s happened in the last two weeks.

Two Mondays ago, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Lucy Flores told a Spanish TV station that she opposed the margin tax because “it can have negative effects on our jobs.”

Last Friday, Nevada’s AFL-CIO voted, by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio, to oppose the margin tax. Yes, you read that right: The AFL-CIO is opposing a tax increase.

Then last weekend, delegates to the Clark County Democratic Party Convention refused to take a position on the margin tax.

I’m been pinching myself all week, but I promise, this isn’t a dream.

Instead, the reality of the impact of a massive tax increase — especially one as poorly written and structured as the margin tax — has caused traditionally liberal individuals and groups to acknowledge that raising taxes kills jobs and hurts the economy. They’re absolutely right, and it’s great to hear them say so.

Our next challenge is to help them remember this important lesson — that raising taxes hurts employees and small-business owners — during the legislative session.

Our biggest challenge, though, is to help these same groups understand that spending more on education won’t increase student achievement.

I’m optimistic. After all, just think about what was “impossible” less than two short years ago.

Until next time,

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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