Tax study sent into hiding until after the election

Victor Joecks

Liberal legislators attempting to hide their desire to raise taxes.

Last week over at, Geoffrey Lawrence asked where the legislature’s tax study had gone. (Geoff’s commentary also contains a good summary on how liberals are trying to use the tax study as political cover for raising taxes.)

For months, lawmakers, political candidates and the public have awaited the first report of the Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group and the firm hired by select legislators for an associated tax study.

However, the report – contractually due July 1 – is nowhere to be found. …

Predictably, political candidates are already hiding behind the not-yet-delivered NVSG/Moody’s recommendations for higher taxes in order to avoid revealing their own stance on the higher-taxes issue. Most notably, gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid has said he is waiting on those recommendations before taking a position.

Now, in an interesting twist, the initial report by Moody’s has been delayed indefinitely. Legislative staffers say the contract – which set July 1, 2010 for the initial report’s delivery – is being amended to reflect this delay. However, they are mum on any new timetable, while news reports say the report’s publication may be delayed until after the November elections. Clearly that would mean higher-tax proponents don’t want to level with Nevada voters.

Now we know – liberals have driven the tax study into hiding, and it most likely won’t emerge until after election day.

July 1 has passed with neither a strategy for improving quality-of-life indicators nor a completed tax analysis. In fact, legislative staff is renegotiating a contract with the firm that was hired, Moody’s Analytics, and a divided Vision Stakeholders Committee is at a standstill. …

Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Lorne Malkiewich said last week it’s unlikely both the committee report and tax analysis will be done before the Nov. 2 election. His staff is negotiating a contract extension he hopes won’t cost the state more money.

The deadline for the report and the study would be staggered, and could stretch past November.

Ah yes, only in government would you pay more for a late product. And why is this delay politically helpful for those who want to take more of your money next year?

This delay could provide political cover for candidates, particularly state Senate candidates backed by the Senate Democrats. Had the study come out with recommendations for a broad-based tax increase, those candidates would be forced to take a position. That could be incendiary in a year Democrats are desperately trying to hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.

Legislators who lie to or mislead voters about their intention to raise taxes should be ashamed of themselves and taken to task by the voters. As Brian Greenspun says, “From that I learned politicians who have only a seat to lose – no bodily injury at risk – can and should be equally candid with the voters.”

Coming tomorrow: why liberal legislators likely orchestrated this delay – choosing their political advantage over leveling with the public on their plans to try and raise taxes in 2011.