Talking taxes II: Who said this?

Victor Joecks

Let's play another guessing game: Who said this?

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.

Governor-elect Brian Sandoval? Rory Reid? Someone from the Nevada Policy Research Institute? Chuck Muth? Senate Majority Leader Horsford circa 2008?

No, no, no, no, and no, although each has publicly noted that raising taxes in the middle of a recession isn't a good idea.

So who said the above quote? Former Senate minority leader Bill Raggio, in 2008.

In case Sen. Raggio needs a reminder, Nevada's private sector is still in a recession.

Las Vegas ranked second-to-last among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas in making progress toward economic recovery through the third quarter, Brookings Mountain West reported in its December Mountain Monitor.

The severity of the Great Recession has been well documented in Las Vegas through the housing market crash, foreclosure crisis, massive job losses and slowdowns in tourism and gaming.

Nevada also has the nation's highest unemployment rate.

Now, Sen. Raggio already broke his word by voting for the largest tax hikes in Nevada's history two years ago, and this year he's suggesting that those taxes be extended. It should be noted that Sen. Raggio pushed to make the tax hikes in 2009 temporary, which at least ensures that we're going to have this debate again instead of having a tax increase already in place.

Reminding Sen. Raggio of what he said two years ago may not change his mind, but it should remind everyone – citizens, lawmakers and the media – that even those calling for hikes, like Sen. Raggio, recognize the destructive impact of tax increases on the economy.

It should also empower conservatives and libertarians to continue pointing out that tax increases kill jobs and hurt the economy.

If you tell the truth about taxes for enough time, Sen. Raggio might even decide he agrees with you again.

The alternative to raising taxes is cutting spending, and in that area, NPRI has many ideas to offer.