Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Let's Just Get Rid of Government Altogether

by Kyle Michaelis
After today, it's going to be fun watching Dave Heineman try to top fellow GOP gubernatorial nominee Dave Nabity for ludicrous and irresponsible tax cut proposals. The AP reports:
Dave Nabity, one of three Republican candidates for governor, said Tuesday that his goal if elected would be to cut at least $600 million in state and local taxes.

Nabity, an Omaha businessman, said he would start by cutting the state income tax by 50 percent, which is roughly $600 million. The loss in income to the state could be made up through other government cuts, he said.

In addition to cutting the state income tax, Nabity said, his goal would be to reduce property taxes by 20 percent, eliminate the property tax on vehicles and do away with the estate tax.

Nabity, who is running against incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman and U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne for the GOP nomination, said he would establish a performance review board to achieve efficiencies in government.

Nabity said his goal would be to cut the $3 billion annual state budget by 10 percent and, together with cuts to local governments, save at least $600 million.

That is what must be done in order to make Nebraska competitive with other states, he said.

Wow, that's pretty breath-takingly ambitious and silly. Of course, you can be as silly as you want to be when you don't have a chance in hell of winning and will never have to lay out the specifics of whether these cuts would come from state aid to public schools, dropping Nebraska's neediest citizens from Medicaid, or closing shop at UNL and selling the campus for retail space.

No one likes paying taxes - we get that. But, seriously, even throwing an idea like this out there is proof of how unhinged the Republican Party's extremist agenda has become from reality. This is all but a declaration of war not just against Nebraska's students and low-income families but also the entire community of which they are a part.

One almost has to assume that Heineman put Nabity up to this in some sort of back room deal just because whatever tax-cutting plan he ultimately unveils will seem sane by comparison. That would make him the "sensible" (only irresponsible, not crazy) candidate, designating Nabity the token kook of the anti-government fringe and leaving Osborne out in the cold.

Just to be on the safe side, Osborne really should stake his claim on this issue before Heineman gets the chance - I'm talking a real proposal for Nebraskans to consider, not just an agreement in priniciple that "gee golly, taxes are too high."

And boy...it sure would be nice to have a Democratic candidate right about now - the lack of an alternative voice (not in favor of taxes but in defense of our most disadvantaged) leaves a terrible vacuum in this state for which - eventually - the people will pay a terrible price. We can't keep the Republican Party honest from the sidelines and sure as hell won't win over Nebraska voters by waiting for Republicans to foul things up so badly that they have no choice but to give the Democratic Party a chance.

Nebraka Democrats have to be more than the Party of Last Resort. Before they can win, though, they have to prove they are even willing to lead. That we don't have voices ready to shoot Nabity down on this is - in itself - a concession of far too much ground.

Of course the lunatics are going to control the asylum when there's no one else even making an attempt.


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