Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) writes letter to Nevada Congressman expressing determination to bring back 2/3 requirement to raise taxes. Where is Sen. Harry Reid on issue?

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) weighed in on the controversial Nevada Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the state\’s constitution that limited tax increases. The senator wrote letter to the measure\’s original sponsor, U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.). Gibbons, who supported the amendment while a state representative in the Nevada Legislature.

Nevada\’s Supreme Court ruled 6-1 to invalidate the state\’s two-thirds majority requirement of the Legislature to raise taxes, making the $800 million tax hike sought by Gov. Kenny Guinn easier. Supporters of the ruling claim it will raise money for education and other priorities. But critics say the court\’s decision leaves out other plausible funding alternatives for education, including other budget cuts. Rep. Gibbons is attempting to revert the decision.

"An integral part of the Nevada Constitution can not be brushed aside to allow more and more money to be snatched away from the hardworking citizens of Nevada who oppose tax increases," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, (ATR.) "It is shocking that a ruling was passed to facilitate this extensive raising of taxes and it is in line with the wishes of the people of Nevada for the 2/3 requirement to raise taxes to be bought back."

Ensign praised Gibbons in his effort to defend the will of the voters, who overwhelmingly supported the Gibbons Tax restraint initiative. He also commented on this form of judicial activism shifting the balance of power away from the legislative but more importantly of it subverting the will of the people of Nevada.

However, Sen. Reid, who won a close victory over Ensign in the 1998 electio,n refused to comment at all, let alone express any support for Gibbons. Reid is up for reelection in 2004.

"It\’s time for Harry Reid to take a position on this issue, instead of hiding away from what is his duty to the people of Nevada" concluded Norquist.