Today marks the unofficial third anniversary of the establishment of the tea party movement. And for those who don't know or may have forgotten, the TEA in tea party stands for Taxed Enough Already.
Gov. Brian Sandoval understands this. And he's made it crystal clear that Nevadans are Taxed Enough Already and that the state's budget must be balanced with existing revenue. No new taxes. No new fees. No negotiations. No horse-trading. No way. No how.
Senate Republicans have seconded that emotion. Indeed, in a letter to Sandoval in February, all 10 Republican state senators declared they would "reject calls for new taxes" while expressing their "unwavering support for (Sandoval's) plan to balance the budget while fighting job-killing taxes."
Why? Because Nevadans are Taxed Enough Already.
But then there's the GOP Assembly...
Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea - who last summer proposed taxing groceries - continues to negotiate with Assembly Democrats to extend some $800 million worth of "temporary" tax hikes which we were assured in 2009 would expire this July.
And of the 16 Republicans in the state Assembly - enough, by the way, to block any extension of the sunsetted tax hikes if they stick together - only four principled conservatives have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.
Those four Assembly Republicans who understand that Nevadans are Taxed Enough Already and back Gov. Sandoval's no-new-taxes budget are: Assemblymen Ed Goedhart, John Hambrick, Dick McArthur and Pete Livermore.
Of the remaining Republicans, none thus far have been willing to sign a public letter of support for Gov. Sandoval - similar to the letter Senate Republicans signed - rejecting calls for new taxes and lending their unwavering support to his plan to balance Nevada's budget using existing revenues.
These let's-make-a-deal Republicans in the Assembly apparently don't believe Nevadans are Taxed Enough Already. And rather than forming a united front against tax and fee hikes with Gov. Sandoval and Senate Republicans, they continue to play footsies with Assembly Democrats and are willing to sell out on the tax issue (though, to be fair, I do hear they've been promised a bag of magic beans!).
The remaining "wobblies" are: Assemblymen John Ellison, Pete Goicoechea, Tom Grady, Scott Hammond, Ira Hansen, Pat Hickey, Randy Kirner, Kelly Kite, Mark Sherwood, Lynn Stewart and Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury.
The 2011 session is now more than half over. It's past time for these Republicans to choose sides. Either they're with Gov. Sandoval, Senate Republicans and Nevadans who are Taxed Enough Already. ... or they're with the liberals, the unions and the Democrats.
If you believe you're Taxed Enough Already, then these Republicans need to hear from you now. You can find their contact information at www.leg.state.nv.us. Speak now, or forever hold your wallet ... very, very tightly.
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at email@example.com.