In Times of Crisis, Don’t Blame the Pragmatists

Zack Boyden     -SB 483, known to Nevadans as the Commerce Tax, was the most divisive law passed in 2015, so much so that we are still hearing the aftermath. In short, part of the law proposed to increase taxes on Nevada businesses making over four million dollars in gross sales to go towards Nevada schools. It was proposed by Republican governor Brian Sandoval with Republicans giving enough support to have it pass at 30-10 in the Assembly, and certainly not without controversy.

It has subsequently divided the Republican Party in Nevada with criticism directed at Republicans who voted for the bill. P.K. O’Neill, Republican representative of Assembly District 40, was voted out of the Carson City Republican Party two weeks ago for his support. Robert Haynes, the chairman of the Carson Party, stated: “If he doesn’t want to walk like a Republican, talk like a Republican and vote like a Republican, he isn’t one.”

The issue of party identity is a strong one, especially considering the large ideological debate occurring on the main stage between establishment Republicans and Trump. Nevadans in general are skeptical about government size, and Nevada Republicans especially so. The fact this passed with Republican approval is downright scandalous, especially considering that Republicans are almost defined by their aggression towards increased taxation.

The issue here is that Republicans keep framing issue around the tax itself—forgetting what the tax is laid out for. Nevada schools have been the worst in the nation for seven years, and they were not exactly top tier before then either.

I guarantee the Republicans who voted in this tax did not frame this bill as a means to increase government revenue but rather to section off more funding Nevada schools, which are in desperate need of some kind of help.

No, I don’t think more taxes are necessarily the answer to everything but we shouldn’t immediately go scorched earth on people who are genuinely trying to help in the time of crisis. We need to do something about our poor schools, and no, we cannot enforce better parental involvement.

If we’re working with a two party system, we have to recognize that there will be divides between party members and that making sure everyone lives up to a party standard is a little tough to expect if you hope to capture half of the voting population. A little wiggle room would do everyone some good.


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