Governor fires back at tax bill critics


Gov. Jim Gibbons' announcement Tuesday that he would neither sign nor veto the hotel room tax increase provoked hostile reactions from both sides of the aisle.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, called Gibbons' move, which will allow the tax hike to become law automatically in five days, "cowardice." Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, called the governor a flip-flopper: "If he is now not going to sign it, I and others have certainly been misled."

Even the anti-tax activists whom Gibbons might have been trying to please with the decision, which he said was based on his principles, weren't fooled. Chuck Muth blasted Gibbons for breaking his pledge not to raise taxes, then trying to weasel out of taking a firm position.

The governor's office keeps busy churning out testy news releases. Today, Gibbons fired back, saying he is allowing the tax increase to become law without a signature because he is ambivalent about it.

"If Senator Horsford considers the Governor of this State a 'coward' for refusing to be an ardent supporter of a tax increase, then I think our new Senate Majority Leader has made it perfectly clear to Nevadans that he not only plans to raise taxes, but intends to do so with great zeal and enthusiasm,” Gibbons said in the statement.