Question 3 is bad for business

Ever read the Nevada Constitution?

Freedom lovers owe Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom of Las Vegas for steering the new medical marijuana law through the Legislature. However, in recent television interviews he revealed his other more rigidly progressive side that doesn’t much care for property rights, low taxes, or Nevada’s future as a business-friendly, small government state.

Segerblom supports the teachers’ union margin tax initiative because, you know, Democrats can’t get a real tax bill through the Legislature with that pesky three-fourths super majority constitutional amendment that tyrannizes the majority, etc. etc. What he overlooks is that the Democrats had that three-fourths super majority vote in recent years but failed to get any of the tax raises he loves. I guess a Nevada Democrat doesn’t always vote like a California Democrat.

Segerblom frankly admits the margin tax—appearing as Question 3 on the ballot—is an end run around the Nevada Legislature. If Democrats can’t get tax increases through the Legislature, they will just get their progressive army to do the heavy lifting with an initiative. Initiative drives, a Progressive Era invention, were originally conceived as a way to make government bigger when the old liberal order legislatures wouldn’t.

Segerblom is more confident this initiative will pass than other tax increases on business schemes the teachers’ union has backed because the “demographics” are changing, and he sees Nevada transforming into something resembling the social democratic paradise that is California. Why, he can see Los Angeles from his balcony!

“Demographics” is politispeak for Latinos, of course. Fiesta Las Vegas has a growing Latino population, and Segerblom thinks that means Democratic policies forever. He has a point, as the Republicans have gone out of their way to insult, ignore and threaten Latinos in recent years. Even today the Unaccompanied Minor Childrens’ Crusade has brought the worst nativism out on the right. Local talk show hosts and callers are in agreement: Of course we can build that wall on the border! The Russkies built the Berlin Wall, didn’t they? Republicans in a few decades have stopped proudly quoting Ronald Reagan’s famous challenge: “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall!” to instead parrot Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s: “Godgang it, Obama, build up that wall!”

But even as badly as they have done so far, there is still time for Republicans to mend, rather than build, some fences with Latinos. Because, after all, we are all Americans, and even more, all human beings. If Republicans are correct that most Americans are inherently center right, then it is up to them to fashion a center right message that attracts Latinos. Studies have suggested that the bright red line they cannot cross is talk of mass- or “self” deportation. Latinos, like everyone else, want fair and just laws. But if Republicans think that Latinos will support a party that will take a father from his family and send him back to his country to get back into a queue that actually doesn’t exist, they are playing right into Democrats’ hands.

Rising Democratic Latino star Lucy Flores, running for lieutenant governor this fall, is on record opposing the margin tax. Latino immigrants, like all immigrants to America, have a high percentage of entrepreneurs. More taxes and regulations will not necessarily make their lives any better. They can be pitched with the liberty message, if it is sincere and respectful enough. Republicans who really want a color blind society, open to newcomers as well, will have to change their rhetoric, stop obsessing over closing the borders, and figure out a market-oriented, limited government, Constitution-based immigration system soon.