Chuck Muth: The Moderate Mike gang strikes gold

The Nevada Republican Party's official position on the issue of taxes:

"We believe the residents of the State of Nevada are not under-taxed and that state government is not under-funded, and our current budget crisis is the result of years of overspending. We oppose raising taxes or fees of any kind to fund the current budget shortfall."

Even English-language learners from DirkaDirkastan would have no problem understanding such plain, clear, unambiguous language. Unfortunately, six Republican state senators, including their leader, apparently can't.

Senate Minority Leader "Moderate Mike" Roberson (R-PLAN) and five terribly misguided colleagues - Sens. Joe Hardy, Ben Kieckhefer, Greg Brower, Scott Hammond and Mark Hutchison - stepped up to the podium a few days ago and announced their support for a new $780 million (or more) tax hike on one of Nevada's only healthy industries.

And make no mistake: This is no "revenue-neutral" tax reform proposal to broaden Nevada's tax structure. This new mining tax is in addition to the re-imposition of the $620 million "temporary" tax hikes that Gov. Brian Sandoval is pushing and the Gang of Six are supporting.

That's a $1.4 billion money-suck from the private sector to the government ... and is twice the size of the Mother of All Tax Hikes in 2003!

As if that's not bad enough - and it is - the Gang of Six excused this obscene spreading of the wealth by adopting the hard left's arguments and rhetoric that (a) mining is evil and (b) we're not funding education adequately.

And no, accusing Roberson of hating mining, despite denials on his part, is not hyperbole. He bitterly said as much in the last legislative session when talking about the alleged side effects of mining on his home town of Galena, Kan., way back in the 1960s.

The scars from his childhood are evident, and payback's a witch.

As for the absolutely absurd notion that "mo' money" is going to fix education in this state, pretty much the only people who foolishly believe such nonsense are unconstituted liberals and Republicans who either work in the education establishment - as Hammond does - or have a relative who does.

Roberson's wife is a teacher.

But none of this should come as any surprise. For his part, Roberson has shown his word is every bit as believable as one of those Nigerian email scams. When running for office in 2010, Roberson signed, then broke, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising the voters of his district and the people of Nevada that he would "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." He then made sure none of his five cohorts in the Great Nevada Mine Robbery signed it. Sounds like it's time for the GOP to form a posse. When's the primary again?

• Chuck Muth is president of and founder of You can contact him at


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