Talking taxes: Who said this?

Victor Joecks

Let's play a little guessing game: Who said this?

"I won't support tax increases — not when the private sector is losing revenue and losing jobs," [name removed] told the Review-Journal's editorial board in September.

"The general fund needs to be managed in a way that doesn't allow growth beyond population growth and inflation."

Governor-elect Brian Sandoval? Rory Reid? Someone from the Nevada Policy Research Institute? Chuck Muth?

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? Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, in 2008.

In case Sen. Horsford 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. Horsford already broke his word by voting for the largest tax hikes in Nevada's history two years ago, and this session he's called for a tax increase of $1.5 billion, which would shatter the "largest tax increase" record he helped set in 2009.

Reminding Sen. Horsford of what he said two years ago may not change his mind, but it should remind everyone – citizens, lawmakers and the media – that even leftists like Sen. Horsford 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. Horsford might even decide he agrees with you again – but probably not until 2012.

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