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Vegas political columnist shames PR reporting
by Jake Highton
Jan 23, 2013 | 2070 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hugh Jackson, columnist for CityLife of Las Vegas, is the best political commentator in the state. He reveals the truth behind the truth.

Every political writer tells us that Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller is expected to run for attorney general in 2014. Only Jackson tells us of Miller’s “naked political cynicism” about voter ID.

Miller, the state’s chief election officer, has repeatedly declared that voter fraud does not exist in Nevada so photo ID is unnecessary. Nevertheless, he will ask the 2013 Legislature convening next month to pass a voter ID bill.

“So why is Miller validating right-wing paranoid voter-fraud mythology even when he doesn’t believe in it?” Jackson asks. “He can still run TV ads saying: ‘Ross Miller fought to protect the integrity of Nevada elections by sponsoring voter ID legislation.’ ”

Now look at Ray Hagar, Reno Gazette-Journal political writer, columnist and unwitting public relations man for Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“I say, com’ on, man, cut Sunny some slack,” the colloquial Hagar writes.

“In Sandoval we are dealing with a governor with a conscience. He desperately wants to do the right thing. He considers opposing views before making his decisions. It’s the reason he’s a political moderate.

“Sandoval, however, is still a Republican. When it comes to raising taxes, he still is against that.”

Now listen to Hugh Jackson on Nevada tax policy: “Duct tape and bailing wire contraptions: raising sales taxes again, tinkering with the state payroll tax and jacking up gaming taxes by a tenth of a percentage point.”

Fact never addressed by Sandoval: gambling taxes in Nevada are the lowest of any state. Another fact the governor overlooks: mining has what Jackson calls a “Lilliputian tax rate.”

Jackson pens “A Tale of Two Mining States”: “The total mineral tax burden on Wyoming producers can be as high as 25 to 30 percent. Nevada’s total burden is capped at 5 percent.”

That cap is written in the state constitution. Efforts are being made to end that monstrosity but it requires another (second) approval by the Legislature and another (second) approval by the voters in 2014.

In other words, don’t hold your breath waiting for that miracle to happen.

“The industry is always keen to provide lawmakers with rationalizations to justify why they should not pay more taxes,” Jackson writes. “But legislators should ask why the industry gets away with humiliating the state and playing Nevadans for chumps by paying such a pittance in taxes.”

Nevada’s “governor with a conscience” should answer that question.

But he won’t. Urging even the slightest tax increase on the powerful gambling and mining industries would mar Sandoval’s next political step: a run for either the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate.

Nevada’s ‘great’ senator

The great Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, majority leader, has urged abolition of legal prostitution in Nevada, a harmless but politically easy target.

However, Reid refuses to do anything about a really tough political target: the woefully undemocratic Senate filibuster. The filibuster requires a supermajority that constantly thwarts good legislation and highly qualified nominees.

Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno
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