Chuck Muth: Decisions may come back to bite Sandoval

Most of Nevada’s beleaguered taxpayers focus on the fact that Gov. Brian Sandoval broke his word not to raise taxes by not once, but twice raising the “temporary” tax hikes approved in 2009 — taxes that were supposed to “sunset” in 2011. But the governor is also responsible for another tax hike coming to Nevada e-shoppers everywhere on New Year’s Day.

Beginning Jan. 1, your purchases — which are currently made tax-free at — will be taxed, in addition to any shipping charges, thanks to some arm-twisting by Sandoval to get the company to collect the tax even though Nevada’s voters overwhelmingly rejected such an e-tax in 2008 and 2010.

So much for listening to the people.

“It’s not fair that local businesses pay the (sales) tax and the Internet companies don’t,” whined State Taxation Director Chris Nielsen recently. Except …

Local businesses don’t pay the tax. And neither will the online companies.

YOU will pay the tax!

The simple, unmistakable truth about this is that customers are about to get hosed and the state of Nevada is about to enjoy a $16 million windfall of new tax revenue to spend on bigger government. Lovely.

In other news, this short blurb from a recent Politico story pretty much says it all …

“In a Republican party that’s gone all out against Obamacare, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval went all in. Sandoval is the only Republican governor whose state is both running its own health insurance exchange this year and expanding its Medicaid program under the health law. He’s arguably doing more to put the Democrats’ signature law into place than any other Republican. … States were supposed to run their own insurance exchanges but most GOP governors refused, forcing the feds to take on the job. Nevada is the only GOP-governed state running an exchange.”

Which raises a question …

Can a moderate Democrat defeat Sandoval next year if conservative voters who are ticked off at him for raising taxes, giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and leading the way on Obamacare implementation decide to vote for the Independent American Party or Libertarian Party candidate or vote “None of the Above”?


As you may recall, Republican Dean Heller only won his U.S. Senate race by about 12,000 votes last year, while the largely unknown IAP candidate hauled in almost 50,000 protest votes. And Heller had nowhere near the liberal record the governor has, especially on fiscal issues.

Sandoval is not yet the shoo-in many are pretending him to be. With a 100,000-voter registration advantage, a credible, moderate Democrat could run close enough to have third-party and NOTA voters “spoil” Sandoval’s expected coronation. Long shot, to be sure. But not impossible.

Chcuk Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization. He can be reached at


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