Friday, April 11, 2003

Hey, hey, ho, ho, capitalism's got to go?

Well, that's not precisely what the protesters in Carson City were chanting at a Wednesday rally stumping for Kenny Guinn's gross receipts tax. But it was close. The demonstration was organized and financed by the state's big casinos and populated by members of the police, firefighter and Culinary unions, and attended by Guinn (who joined the demonstators in their chants!!!). Las Vegas-area Culinary members threatened to take their kids out of school and ship them to Carson City to lobby lawmakers if the GRT fails to pass.

In my memory, at least, not since the odious Lowell Weicker has a state chief executive so shamelessly cheered the potential looting of his constituents. At least other tax-hikers have the common decency to wring their hands and act somewhat reticent. Not Kenny. He's carrying a sledgehammer and joining the thugs.

It's also bizarre to see members of the Culinary (who are primarily housekeepers and dishwashers in resorts) going to the mat for this tax increase, which will almost exclusively line the pockets of teachers and other public employees. As R-J Editor Tom Mitchell says, here you have a group of workers who may make $10 an hour (and whose contract stipulates pay raises in the range of 3 percentage points or so a year) picketing so that they can pay higher taxes and allow bureaucrats who make three and four times their salaries get 7-percent raises -- not to mention cushier retirement benefits. Labor solidarity is one thing, but ...

And how can you square this? Union members chanting derogatory slogans at "big business" on behalf of a tax plan which would benefit the biggest, most profitable, most politically connected business in the state ... the casinos. Unbelievable.

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