Norquist noses in on Nevada ballot questions

uh oh grover has deployed the index finger
Grover Norquist. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
uh oh grover has deployed the index finger
Grover Norquist. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Washington D.C. anti-tax activist Grover Norquist will perhaps be best remembered for saying “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

When it comes to taxes, Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform, is against them. The group is probably best known for its “Taxpayers Protection Pledge,” by which politicians essentially pledge to oppose new taxes unless they are offset by tax reductions. The nearly four dozen Nevada Republicans who have signed the pledge include Dean Heller, Mark Amodei, Cresent Hardy, Danny Tarkanian and Adam Laxalt. (Michael Roberson, a Republican running for lieutenant governor, signed the pledge several years ago, but was denounced by Norquist after voting to raise taxes in 2015. A few years earlier while appearing on television with Jon Ralston, Roberson had said Norquist “needs to go away.”)

So it is perhaps no surprise that Norquist’s group supports Question 4, the ballot initiative to exempt medical devices from sales taxes. “Especially when it comes to in-home need for devices like oxygen breathers, the savings could be relatively significant,” Americans for Tax Reform said in a statement Tuesday.

A separate Nevada ballot initiative also exempts products from sales taxes. Question 2 would rid Nevada of the so-called “pink tax” by exempting sales taxes on feminine hygiene products. Norquist’s organization did not announce a position on that.

Question 6, requiring Nevada energy providers to obtain half of their energy from renewable resources by 2030, is the only other Nevada ballot question on which the organization took a position. Americans for Tax Reform is against it.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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