And last night in Reno, Greg Brower (R) and Sheila Leslie (D) traded barbs on a number of topics, such as mining taxes and overall tax fairness.
Leslie painted Brower as a conservative Republican beholden to tea party interests. She said he was against extending taxes that were set to expire in 2011 to balance the budget and now supports extending them.
“When he went to the session in 2011 and started running for Congress, that’s when he became a tea party Republican,” Leslie said.
Leslie repeated her call for a form of corporate tax throughout the debate and advocated for getting rid of the modified business tax and lowering the sales tax. She added the state’s mining industry is not paying its fair share.
“Even Sarah Palin in Alaska knew better, she taxed oil,” Leslie said. “We need to tax the natural resources we have, and that’s mining.”
Brower said the state’s mining industry is paying its fair share and that any corporate tax could be bad for job creation. He agreed there should be tax reform that should be bipartisan.
“The last thing we need to do as a state is do anything that would jeopardize job creation and investment,” Brower said.
He noted Leslie voted for the modified business tax in 2003. Leslie, in turn, said she voted for the 2003 tax because it was a bipartisan solution at the time of a major financial crisis for the state.
Notice something strange here? I do. First, Greg Brower slammed the idea of progressive tax reform. Then, he said any tax reform should be done in a bipartisan manner. Yet from there, he criticized Sheila Leslie for voting for the bipartisan 2003 tax deal that was crafted by a group of REPUBLICAN legislators as an alternative to REPUBLICAN Governor Kenny Guinn's original tax plan! Wait, how does this even make sense? How can Greg Brower claim he wants "bipartisan solutions" on tax reform, claim he wants "balance" in the Legislature, then castigate Sheila Leslie for agreeing to compromise with the Republicans who had to compromise with each other (!!!) in order to reach a deal on taxes and the state budget?
This is a big reminder for voters in Reno's SD 15 that they indeed have an extremely important choice to make. Even though this may be Bill Raggio's old seat, Greg Brower isn't actually playing by Raggio's playbook of consensus building. Rather, he's pretty much doing what Michael Roberson tells him to do... Which is more or less a slightly modified version of the typical G-O-TEA agenda of attacking workers' rights, privatizing everything in sight, and pumping out more bailouts for billionaires (while sticking working class taxpayers with the bill).
This is why Roberson and his G-O-TEA buddies have spent so much on Brower's behalf. And this is why they fear a Leslie victory here. This is something voters in SD 15 should keep in mind. The decision they make may truly have a strong and lasting impact on our state.