The ongoing charade that is the Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group finally showed its true colors.
From the beginning, it has been apparent that the purpose of the stakeholder group and the associated tax study is to provide political cover for unprecedented tax increases during the 2011 legislative session. Indeed, as group member Denise Tanata Ashby of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas indicated before the group's work even began: "We are all taxpayers ourselves. But at some point, everybody has to contribute if we want that vision of Nevada that we have."
The legislative Interim Finance Committee engineered this process, instructing the stakeholder group to develop ideas for new state spending and requiring its consultant for the associated tax study, Moody's Analytics, to incorporate those new spending ideas into its recommendations for "revenue reform." Interim Finance Committee Chair Steven Horsford set the stage for the 2011 session by placing this charade by Moody's and the group of "stakeholder" tax consumers at the center. "Revenue reform is at the top of the agenda for 2011," he said. "It is THE agenda."
Last week, the stakeholder group finally began to unveil its "vision" for "revenue reform." Unsurprisingly, the discussion focused on what new taxes could be implemented in Nevada — ranging from "broad-based business taxes" to personal income taxes.
A state income tax will happen if we continue to let our legislators spend money and raise taxes. We must fight back now.