At least for now. No doubt, the pressure is building, and his own party is filled with defectors anxious to correct the ever-mushrooming budget deficit by milking the people.
Gibbons inherited from his Republican-in-name-only predecessor Kenny Guinn a government bloated with excess budgets and programs birthed by the ballooning tax revenues created by the housing bubble. Every penny coming in was spent as if the always-expanding revenue stream would last forever.
Well, old news now. The bubble burst, 1 in 30 houses faces foreclosure and the residential construction industry died, yet the bureaucracy remains at high-bubble tide.
What to do? Tax the people comes first to mind to the government-oriented folks; cutting “indispensable” programs is anathema to the beneficiaries of tax revenue. Typical of these is University Chancellor Jim Rodgers who wants Gibbons to raise taxes.
Nor is Rodgers an isolated example. Teacher’s union president Lynne Warne is also enthusiastic about raising your taxes – always “for the good of the children,” of course.
But, let’s face it, now is an especially lousy time to even consider raising taxes. Food, gas, just about everything is rising in cost; wages are stagnant; jobs are getting harder to come by; belt tightening is going on everywhere.
Still, the never-ending hunt for “new revenue sources” goes remorselessly on, a parasite always seeking a more vigorous new host to latch onto. Sadly for government worshippers, fresh bodies are increasingly hard to find and old tried and true venues are re-examined with hungry eyes.
Here in the Silver State, winnings of big casinos will be placed in the voter’s gun sights thanks to the Teacher’s Union’s successful petition/court fight. An estimated $250 million will soon be a possibility, all going “for the children.” Of course, teacher’s salary raises might also get a penny or two.
Not to be outdone, Washoe County is trying to squeeze more out of those reprehensible practices of smoking, drinking and whoring. Vice taxes are being considered, but fortunately for the “adult” world, State Senator Randolph Townsend has planted his feet firmly on that rock-solid foundation for strip clubs and porno movies: the U.S. Constitution.
A tax on “adult clubs” would interfere with their “constitutional right” of freedom of expression, our GOP strict constructionist champion boldly raising his sword in righteous indignation has stated.
Townsend is right. I read in the Federalist papers numerous sections devoted by Madison, Jay and Hamilton, clearly holding sacrosanct the great human freedoms of pole dancing and drunk guys tossing dollars to semi-naked gyrating women. Sections 32 and 33, if I remember correctly, though I may be wrong. Maybe I read about that in John Locke’s “Two Treatises on Civil Government.” Or was it Montesquieu?
Townsend’s protections of the “gentlemen’s clubs” I suspect is more grounded in campaign donations (perhaps some “in-kind”) than any supposed “constitutional right of expression.” What a sick joke. Will taxing mom-and-pop grocery stores or legitimate small businesses also be so sheltered? Of course not. They are not trying to “express” themselves; their motive is merely the evil root of capitalism, trying to make a buck to feed their family. No constitutional savior need apply.
Anyway, we can be proud of our honorable Gov Gibbons for showing real courage and leadership in a very difficult time. As for Townsend – thank God for term limits.
Ira Hansen is a lifelong resident of Sparks, owner of Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing and his radio talk show can be heard Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on 99.1 FM.