Horsford, Raggio call for record tax increases

Victor Joecks

Last week Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford called for a $1.5 billion tax hike. And earlier this week, Anjeanette Damon reported that Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio has also called for new taxes. Raggio didn’t specify an amount, but let’s just say he’s hoping to do more than make the 2009 Raggio tax increases permanent.

In a brief interview today, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said the state’s budget crisis is so great that a tax increase and an extension of the temporary 2009 tax increase may be necessary to keep government afloat.

First, let’s remember that Horsford has called for $1.5 billion in spending cuts, so if the budget Horsford wants is over $4.9 billion, citizens should hold the Senate majority leader to the standard he created for himself.

Second, and unfortunately, I don’t have time right now to fully flesh out how tax increases kill jobs and increase government deficits over the long term, so I’m going to have to rely on the 2008 edition of Sen. Horsford and the 2008 edition of Sen. Raggio to tell you why raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea.
Via Glenn Cook, here’s Sen. Horsford in 2008.

“I won’t support tax increases — not when the private sector is losing revenue and losing jobs,” Horsford told the Review-Journal’s editorial board in September [2008].
“The general fund needs to be managed in a way that doesn’t allow growth beyond population growth and inflation.”

And here’s Sen. Raggio in 2008.

With our citizens facing higher costs, over $4.00 per gallon for fuel and higher costs for food and other necessities, businesses hurting, unemployment rising, this is not the time to talk about raising taxes.

What should Nevada do instead of raising taxes? Rory Reid and Brian Sandoval both have suggestions that would help correct the 29 percent increase in inflation-adjusted, per-capita spending that Nevada’s had over the last 15 years.

For example, here’s Reid’s take on the out-of-control education bureaucracy.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid told the Nevada News Bureau yesterday there are other options for moving the state out of its current budget crisis besides increasing taxes and cutting programs.

In an interview at a local coffee shop, Reid pulled out two pieces of paper. One showed an organization chart for the state’s public education system from 1989. The other shows how it looks now.

The newer chart showed many more layers of government, including advisory panels, legislative committees and other bureaucratic creations that have evolved over the past 20 years.

Reid said the two charts demonstrate one way Nevada can save several hundred million dollars: by streamlining government services to eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in state government.

Reforms like these, not tax increases, will be the ones that take political courage. Sen. Horsford and Sen. Raggio didn’t even keep their promises to oppose tax increases for one year.

Nevada’s citizens should do their best to discover if either Reid or Sandoval have a greater amount of political courage and integrity than Sen. Horsford and Sen. Raggio have shown.