Week in review: tunnel

Andy Matthews

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

 “Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.” — John Quinton

This past November, as I’m sure was the case with many of you, I was filled with more hope than I’ve had in a while. Not only did voters across the country support small-government, freedom-loving candidates, but here in Nevada, voters — by a 4-to-1 margin — said no to raising taxes.

It seemed like people were finally waking up — as if there were a light at the end of the tunnel.

And in Nevada, where Republicans took control of the legislative and executive branches of state government for the first time in 85 years, I really thought we’d see some changes.

So NPRI published a series of articles outlining “How Republicans can succeed where Democrats have failed.” We identified education, collective bargaining and public pension reforms as the areas that presented the greatest opportunities for positive change. Many lawmakers took the suggestions offered in these articles — and in our Solutions 2015 policy guide — and drafted bills to turn our ideas into reality.

One such idea that already has become reality is a tuition tax credit scholarship program. Last week, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law an Opportunity Scholarship program that allows businesses to make tax-deductible donations to a scholarship fund, which parents may tap into to offset or cover the cost of private education. There are also a number of bills moving through the Legislature to make needed changes to collective bargaining and the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Unfortunately, we’re also seeing some proposals that are at odds with what voters likely expected from politicians who promised to “keep taxes low.”

Despite having campaigned against the margin tax, Gov. Sandoval is now urging legislators to support the largest tax increase in Nevada history, in the form of a gross-receipts tax similar to the margin tax voters so soundly rejected just months ago. And on Tuesday, 17 Nevada senators voted to support that tax; only four stood up and echoed the will of voters by saying “no.”

Going against the clearly expressed will of the people is bad enough, but Gov. Sandoval’s tax plan — which would levy a new tax on businesses regardless of their profitability — won’t even improve education as he’s claimed.

We at NPRI think Nevada taxpayers deserve to know what’s happening in Carson City as they’re busy working to pay for government’s excesses. So on Wednesday, we released a new video highlighting Gov. Sandoval’s flip-flop on taxes.

The 48-second clip features the governor telling voters, in his own words, that taxes aren’t the solution to Nevada’s problems — and then going on to discuss his history-making tax plan.

We also created a page on our website that lists Gov. Sandoval’s contact information, as well as the email addresses and phone numbers of every Assembly member and senator in Nevada, so that citizens can make their position on debilitating taxes known (again).

Since the video was posted on YouTube on Wednesday morning, it has been viewed more than 23,000 times. Considering that, before we released this video, 90 percent of Nevadans didn’t know Gov. Sandoval supports the largest tax hike in state history, that’s an incredible number of people who now have a better idea of what their governor, once an adamant tax-hike opponent, is now doing.

Numerous people have contacted NPRI to ask what they can do about their flip-flopping policymakers and this proposed tax. Fortunately, it’s not too late to contact your Assembly members, who have yet to vote on the tax plan, SB252.

And of course, if you’d like to help us spread our message to more people, you can do so by making a donation here.

As I wrote to you after the election, Nevada has a great opportunity this legislative session to reduce the size, scope and spending of government, and to increase freedom in the Silver State.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel here in Nevada. And we can’t let the politicians go out and buy more tunnel.

Until next time,

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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