To vote or not to vote

Have you looked at the Reno News & Review's voter guide?

Early voting will have begun when you read this. The voter turnout in Nevada is expected to be dismal. People are realizing the most we can expect of government is that it doesn’t mess up too much, and it confines itself to only a modest amount of corruption.

I endorse the handful of libertarians and conservatives who can be relied on to hold the line on government growth and even propose new solutions now and then. James Settelmeyer (R, Senate 17, unchallenged), Jim Wheeler (R, Assembly 39), Don Gustavson (R, Senate 14), Ira Hansen (R, Assembly 32), and others are needed in office for their Northern Nevada point of view. Jill Dickman (R, Assembly 31) and Jeanne Herman (County Commission 5) can be powerful feminine voices for liberty. Apologies to any left out. Libertarian and IAP candidates: I wish you could win!

We need Pat Hickey (R, Assembly 25), whose leadership helped push the Republican needle to favor the new medical marijuana distribution system. The social issues are gone from the Nevada Republican Platform, but they will come up in the 2015 Legislature. Now that the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Nevada Constitution’s definition of marriage as only between a man and woman is itself unconstitutional, there will have to be action to repeal it. The culture wars are over. Conservatives are beginning to understand that. They can do the most good by protecting religious minorities against liberal backlash. We need a better definition of what constitutes a public accommodation. Is the refusal of a Christian baker to create a wedding cake that features two grooms a violation of anyone’s rights?

We have two tax proposals and one proposal for a new Nevada Appeals Court on the ballot.

I oppose both new taxes. We need to get away from single industry taxes, but that does not mean we need a new broad-based tax in Nevada either. If public education is such a wonderful idea, why do we need to use the power of the state to finance it? Public education is the only business that complains about too many customers. Why not try more market-oriented approaches instead? Perhaps the education establishment will put a school choice initiative on the ballot in 2016! Well, the Soviet Union collapsed overnight, didn’t it?

Mining is one of the best employers in the state, and the high income jobs it produces are vital for rural Nevada. Besides, why go after this tax once again when the entire issue of the federal public lands is being debated?

The margin tax is a terrible idea. Proponents of the new tax, as always, say that it will “not be so bad” and even if the arguments of the opponents can seem a tad apocalyptic, it will negatively impact many small and medium businesses and stunt our economic recovery. Nevada taxes employments, now we want to go after gross income as well. What next, a stamp tax on all documents?

The issue of a new Appeals Court is back again. The people have rejected five such proposals before. Judges say the Supreme Court is overworked, and justice suffers. They promise us that they will work out of abandoned offices and sleep on cots to keep the costs down. I am not convinced of that, but there can be other ways of alleviating the burdens. Perhaps the Legislature could appoint more judges. Maybe, just maybe, the Legislature could reduce the burdens on our justice system by repealing a bunch of unnecessary laws and allowing for more private conflict resolutions. One can dream.