Coffin, the Democrat stone in the midst of all
The legislative session just ended in Nevada, and they chose a tax-rebate over money over Nevada citizen-soldiers:
The Senate voted Friday for Gov. Kenny Guinn's plan to spend down some $300 million in surplus state funds by returning up to $300 apiece - though in many cases far less - in 2004 vehicle registration fees to Nevadans.
The official vote was 21-0, though Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, who has been the bill's sharpest critic of late, said he meant to vote against SB519.
"Whittle away at this and begin to see how many citizens are going to get this rebate, it's not many," Coffin said. "What does this all lead me to? It is the rock with the check attached to it that's going to come through my window."
Coffin said that people think they'll get a $300 check for registration fees for each of their cars, but that's far from true. He said large private businesses with a fleet of cars will get the most money.
Coffin, an "Independent Democrat" from Las Vegas, took the extraordinary step of going on a 7-day hunger strike in support of his bill soldier bonuses:
After fasting since last Sunday on behalf of his bill to give bonuses of up to $500 a month to Nevada National Guard members and reservists for their time served after Sept. 11, Sen. Bob Coffin needed help to his seat on the Senate floor on Saturday.
"They tell me I passed out over here but I don't believe them," he said, adding, "I have to (fast). On behalf of the kids."
Coffin, D-Las Vegas, has high hopes for SB355, which carries a $25 million price tag. He would like the money to be carved out of the $300 million that will likely go to rebates for Nevadans, and says there is room for both plans.
For all of the attention Coffin got in the Nevada press for what some could call a stunt, I was amazed by how indifferent other Nevada politicians were. Instead supporting Coffin's bill, the majority of the Dems in the leg in Nevada mostly worked to at least spread out the wealth of Gov. Guinn's rebate plan. Under the Republican's original plan, Nevadan's rebates would be connected to the value of their car, so while some would get thousand's of dollars back, others would get as little as three. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has a pretty sound round-up of the rest of the session.
(For everyone that likely won't get the title, its from a Yeats poem, Easter 1916)
Your Personal Note:
"Instead supporting Coffin's bill, the majority of the Dems in the leg in Nevada mostly worked to at least spread out the wealth of Gov. Guinn's rebate plan."
Don't lay this one on the Dems. Coffin's bill couldn't get out of the Republican-controlled Senate Finance committee. The Dems only control the Assembly and so never got to hear the bill.
Posted by: sagesnow | Jun 10, 2005 9:47:45 AM
That's a good point. Either way, you would think Republicans would be all over that idea in the first place.
Posted by: Emmett O'Connell | Jun 10, 2005 9:58:51 AM
In principle, of course you are correct. But Coffin has a long history of what amount to self-serving stunts like this -- introducing bills without doing the hard work of building support before or early in the session, to get them on the calendar in time to be moved out of the committee.
I'm all for his position on this issue but wish he had done what everyone who wants to get something passed does -- lined up allies, worked hard to raise the issue in the press, and pushed for it back last winter when the big issues were being laid out.
The reason we have this idiotic pay-off to Humvee owners masquerading as a "tax rebate" is because Beers began pushing for it in December and raised enough support that Gov Guinn caved and put it in his agenda. By the time Coffin or anyone else began to speak against it, it already had too much momentum to stop.
I think you've missed the forrest for the trees on this one Emmett.
Posted by: desmoulins | Jun 12, 2005 12:50:02 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)