The Las Vegas newspaper, which under previous administrations was reticent to embrace increased taxes, today wrapped both arms around Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed increased spending and the tax hikes required to cover it.
I predicted as much at the start of the Legislature. There was a new publisher from the ad sales side of the business — and who ever knew a salesman who could say no? The governor had just visited the editorial board to sell his budget plan. Soon after the paper editorialized:
“Gov. Sandoval needs support from both parties to pass his $7.3 billion budget, the tax increases needed to fund it, and the K-12 improvements that will result from it.”
It concluded by telling the governor he needs to “rally the divided Republican Assembly caucus and convince all Nevadans that his plan will position the state for a prosperous future. He must lead like few governors have led before.”
Sounded like an endorsement to me.
A couple of days later the paper backtracked a bit and editorialized that it was not yet ready to endorse the governor’s budget.
Even though that publisher steps down this week as the new owners have brought in an interim publisher, who I hear doesn’t give a whit about the news and opinion operations of the papers he has led, the latest editorial stance is unlikely change again.
Today’s Review-Journal editorial is a dog’s meal of quibbles and bits. Sounds like some compromising and a few rewrites were required. It backs Sandoval’s menu of education spending on programs that largely have proven ineffective when tried elsewhere and by past governors, but the paper did draw the line at the governor’s plan to throw money at pre-K programs that amount to little more than free daycare.
The editorial also suggested making Sandoval’s margin tax lite — a business license fee based on gross receipts, like the one rejected by the voters in November — temporary and called for the next Legislature to replace it with a cut of the sales tax rate while broadening it to cover services — a proposal suggested by the Tax Foundation study commissioned by the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce before it disavowed it.
Maybe state Controller Ron Knecht should visit the new publisher and tout his spending plan that doesn’t hike taxes.
It is an old joke in the newspaper business that a paper’s editorial stance often depended on who the last person to have lunch with him was.