Thoughts on the special session II

Victor Joecks

Today’s random thought on Nevada’s special session:

Temporary taxes usually aren’t temporary, and the Nevada Legislature demonstrated why at the very end of the special session.

The 26th special session of the Nevada Legislature ended shortly after 2 a.m. this morning, as both houses overwhelmingly passed the budget agreement hammered out by Gov. Jim Gibbons and legislative leaders, and extended a 1/8th cent sales tax for road construction jobs.

Both bills are expected to be signed by the governor.

Gibbons is expected to sign the bills, including the so-called “jobs bill.” …

Gibbons late Sunday added onto the proclamation the proposal to raise $430 million for road projects that would create jobs.

The jobs bill, a proposal of the Associated General Contractors, would mostly be funded by lifting a sunset on a 1/8th cent sales tax in Clark County. That money would go to the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission.

Horsford said the bill could create 12,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next month. (Emphasis added)

Leaving aside for the moment that it’s not the government’s job to create jobs, this story demonstrates why you shouldn’t believe politicians when they talk about “sun-setting” taxes. The legislature passed this bill at the last minute with minimal debate or public knowledge, and then Gibbons tried to justify it by saying it’s not a new tax.

Lynn Hettrick, deputy chief of staff for Gibbons, said the proposal wouldn’t necessarily be considered new taxes because they already exist.

Keep this in mind going into the 2011 Legislative Session. The $781 million in tax increases that are suppose to sunset probably won’t go away without public awareness and pressure.