Who was taxpayers’ worst nightmare in 2009?

Victor Joecks

Glenn Cook of the RJ listed his top 5 on Sunday. And while you’ll have to read the whole thing to find out his “winner,” his choice for number 3 absolutely nailed why the government should stick to its core functions and stop trying to pick winners and losers.

3. Bill Raggio, Steven Horsford and Barbara Buckley: These three lawmakers had no mercy on the taxpaying public this year as they worked together to ram through $1 billion in tax hikes. While Nevada companies were shedding jobs, these three were overwhelmingly concerned with the needs of the government they’ve grown over the years, and protecting the unsustainable salaries and benefits they’ve put in place for their most important constituents: public employees.

State retail sales were slumping? Raise the sales tax! Layoffs everywhere? Raise the payroll tax, and punish companies for creating new positions! Taxpayers holding onto their cars longer because they can’t afford new ones? Raise the vehicle registration tax! Hotels can’t fill their rooms? Raise the room tax! Then watch as the new revenues come nowhere close to projections, setting the stage for new cutbacks — and new calls for higher taxes.

As if $1 billion in tax hikes wasn’t enough, Nevada’s legislative leaders aren’t waiting until 2011 to start thinking about new taxes either. As I wrote last week, the Nevada Vision Stakeholders Group is meeting next Friday (January 8, 2010) to begin setting goals for Nevada’s future. I sure am glad 19 unelected people (most representing special interest groups of some sort) are going to set spending goals for the future and how to pay for them.

Doug Busselman, a NVSG alternate who doesn’t automatically assume more government is the answer (and I hope not the only one), has more.

With all this activity, Nevada’s legislative leaders and the NVSG seem to be gunning for the top spot on Cook’s 2010 list for taxpayers’ worst nightmare. And if they succeed, we’ll be paying for it for a long time.