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Legislative session an ad for Laxalt’s run for governor

Updated April 3, 2017 - 12:34 am

There’s one Republican elected official who should be thrilled with the far-left proposals coming from legislative Democrats: Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

It’s an open secret that Laxalt will run for governor in 2018. His fundraising, grass-roots outreach and work as attorney general already have scared off Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller as Republican challengers. Even if Treasurer Dan Schwartz decides to throw away his political career — and the conservative goodwill he’s earned defending Education Savings Accounts — by challenging Laxalt for the Republican nomination, Laxalt is going to be Nevada’s 2018 Republican candidate for governor.

The anti-business, pro-union and just-plain-loony Democratic proposals coming from Carson City have turned the Nevada Legislature into a 120-day infomercial for Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign.

Democrats have introduced so much red tape you’d think it’s Christmas. They want new regulations and mandates for paid sick leave and pregnant women. They want to make businesses keep years of records to prove they offered equal pay. There are multiple proposals to increase the minimum wage. There’s even a bill to put price controls on pharmaceutical companies.

It’s a nightmare for business owners, especially small employers. But it gets worse. Democrats want business owners to be charged with crimes and fined if they run afoul of some of these new regs.

“Any business lobbyist will tell you this is the worst session they’ve ever seen,” said one insider.

That’s before you get to the taxes Democrats will want in 2018. This session, they’re laying the groundwork for a 2019 push for a $1.4 billion tax increase, disguised as the weighted-funding formula, and a property tax increase.

But don’t worry. They want to save women $8 a year by exempting certain products from the sales tax.

Then there are the union giveaways. Say hello to state workers busting the budget with the ability to collectively bargain and higher construction costs on school buildings. Say goodbye to the modest education, construction defects and labor reforms passed in 2015.

Don’t forget the plan to ban plastic bags and prevent law enforcement from helping federal authorities deport illegal immigrants who commit murder and rape.

Thanks to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s veto pen, these proposals are being amended or aren’t going anywhere — this year.

So let’s jump ahead to 2019. Barring a once-in-a-hundred-year miracle like 2015, Democrats again will control the Legislature. If a Democrat wins the governor’s race, it likely means that current Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford is attorney general. Help me welcome new Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson. Or would you prefer that Pat Spearman, Tick Segerblom or Yvanna Cancela take control?

Sorry for giving every businessperson in the state a heart attack, but if a Democrat wins the 2018 governor’s race, California will be running ads in late 2019 to attract Nevada businesses seeking tax and regulatory relief.

That’s why Laxalt should be recording the bills proposed by legislative Democrats as in-kind contributions. The farther left that Democrats go, the more desperate that Nevadans to the right of Bernie Sanders are going to be to elect Laxalt.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Nevada section each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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