Ron Knecht unhinged


If, as John Wooden once said, the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching, Controller Ron Knecht revealed a lot in a recent response to a question from a constituent.

I have obtained the exchange, which reveals Knecht to be a pretentious, overbearing and arrogant boor, whose overreaction is simply appalling.

Leslie Gamble, who describes herself as a native Nevadan with two young children, asked the controller, who failed abysmally in his attempt to repeal the new Commerce Tax, about his efforts:

Mr. Knecht,
I read about your acts to repeal the commerce tax today on the Reno Memo (in the Reno Gazette-Journal). I am so bummed to hear this news. I was wondering who could possibly be against this tax that will help MAYBE, FINALLY move Nevada from its 51st position in the country in education. Now I know who is leading the charge. 

I have a 4 year old and a 4 month old. The ONLY reason I hesitate to stay in this state, even though our entire family lives here, is because of our low ranking in education.

Why would you possibly want to keep us dead last in education? 

A Very Concerned Native Nevadan,
Leslie Gamble 

Innocuous enough, right?

Here is how Knecht responded Tuesday, a month after Gamble sent her email -- his I will helpfully annotate -- by calling her an idiotic liar who should move to another state:

Ms. Gamble,

1) For years, the State of Nevada has been throwing money at the teachers unions and the rest of the absolutely ineffectual and willfully unaccountable, non-responsive, selfish and corrupt K12 bureaucracy, while getting nothing in return.  (OK, odd for Knecht to immediately launch into this kind of vitriol, but maybe he will calm down.) For example, as Nevada's first Popular Annual Financial Report showed, state K12 spending over the last decade -- that is, before the wanton waste promulgated by Gov. Sandoval and Big Gaming's simple tools in the legislature (1. Who talks like this except a pretentious prig? 2. Could he talk in more cartoonish terms? 3. I grant you, the casinos get a lot, but why are they relevant here?)-- has risen faster than anything except health and Human Services spending. Those two categories of spending have risen much faster than all other areas of state spending and, more importantly, much faster than the incomes of Nevada families and businesses and the growth of the Nevada economy.  They have also driven total state spending to rise much faster than the incomes of our families and businesses and our economy.

This metastasis (Ah, the cancer of educating children.) of the public sector has continued for over sixty years at the federal, state and local levels, and it is not only unfair and oppressive, but also unsustainable.  Not the dopey false unsustainability of the greenies and enviro goofs (Seriously? Does he just speak in nasty, far-right blather?), but real unsustainable in that it literally cannot continue indefinitely.  This cancer of public-sector growth relative to the economy has continued way beyond the levels at which economic growth is maximized, and it is greatly responsible for the long-term slowing and then collapse in recent years of economic growth, and thus for the impoverishment of our future and children. (Wow. I'm getting out of Nevada. Who's with me?) So the mindless throwing of money at predatory special interests such as the unions and the K12 establishment (So teachers and principals are special interest predators?) is a repeat by our governor and legislature of the mistakes of the past and is doomed to bear even worse fruit in the future.  But apparently you don't care enough to even know any of the facts about massive destructive public-sector over-reach. (Nice way to talk to a constituent. The hubris here would be astonishing except, well, it's Knecht.)

2) And yet, despite throwing money recklessly at these predatory special interests, we have not seen any significant improvement in student achievement of any other useful indicia of K12 performance in our state.  Nor will we see any such improvement due to the latest round. (Ah, he is an economist, a lawyer AND a soothsayer. Is there a club above Mensa?) So how could any sane, caring person advocate a repeat of it?  We're very low (Wait! He acknowledges it!) , but not 51st -- but the liars promoting ever more of this public spending predation (He likes variants of that word, no?) love to repeat lies like that claim.  I have a 14-year-old daughter, and education is one of the most important things to me -- it has served me and our family well, and I want it to do so for her and all Nevada's children, too.  That's why my office has not only opposed the wanton waste that you support, but put out thoughtful critiques of our K12 education system and proposals to improve it, instead of moronically (So many stupid people around Ron.) throwing money at the special interests.  Why didn't you learn any of the facts about education before spewing out your hate at me? (Hate? What?)


3) When you accuse me of "wanting to keep  us dead last in education" because I will not join the idiocy (What a nice guy.) you advocate, you expose yourself as a hate-filled, vicious, immoral, indecent liar (Seriously, who talks like this? And is he sputtering onto his keyboard as he responds to this poor woman?)  I am not doing any such thing as you allege.  By advocating for continuation of the failed policies of the past -- the policies that our destroying our economy, our society and our educational system -- you expose yourself as one who doesn't want to help educate our children and in fact wants to keep undermining the economy and society that could bring them prosperity with the reforms I've advocated.  (I remind you to go back up top and read her brief missive.) You being so hateful, dishonest and stupid (My God, man!) could in fact do Nevada a favor by leaving; there are plenty of your kind in CA, IL, NY, CT, etc. -- so maybe you'd be much happier in those failing states. (Get out of MY STATE, you lesser being!)


4) BTW, in the last legislature, I joined with some other professionals and public-spirited citizens (Actually, you joined with Treasurer Dan Schwartz along to present a completely unworkable and thin budget.)  to propose a budget that did not require tax increases and did increase total state spending slightly and state spending for K12 significantly, but with reforms.  Contrary to the lies told by the people who ignored it in order to continue their stupid (EVERYONE IS STUPID, except Ron.) destructive huge increases in spending and taxes, it passed an extensive hearing by a legislative committee and critical vetting by general counsel at the legislature with flying colors.  (Why do I not remember this occurring? CORRECTION: I had forgotten Knecht also proposed a budget on the Assembly side that went nowhere. So he failed twice, not just once. Mea culpa.) All along I've been among the people doing the constructive and reasonable things, but for doing so I and other real reformers reap hate and lies from people like you. (Hate and lies? The woman asked a question!)


Maybe before in the future assaulting with your hate and lies (Seriously?) me and others who are trying to help and fix things, you could learn some facts before our next exchange.  And learn some decency.  And maybe you could find better sources of info than the ones you've relied on.


Ron Knecht

Nevada Controller

Gamble told me "it is just dismaying that this is the level of discourse, even at the more local level of politics, where you can easily run into your elected officials at the grocery store or other community events. This is how he handles a constituent who might disagree with him?"


I have twice tried to get Knecht to explain himself. I am hoping for a venomous response, but nothing yet.

UPDATE: Here it is. It does not disappoint. For his sake, I will not annotate. It's more of the same, although it hilariously includes the admission that the Commerce Tax was a tiny fraction of the budget.

She did not ask me a simple question.  She said: “Why would you possibly want to keep us dead last in education?”  Nothing I’ve said or done supports her claim that I want to keep us dead last in education, and it is categorically false.  As I explained, I’m on record extensively advocating for reforms that will actually improve education and opposed to continuing the policies that have kept us near the bottom.  (I also explained we’re not dead last, another falsehood she manufactures.)  Alleging such a motive on anyone’s part without clear proof is inherently a dishonest, hateful, indecent action.

It’s also well-known that with a 14-year-old daughter – with whom my wife, mother-in-law and I spend great amounts of time and money helping give her the best possible education – I have every reason to want to promote effective and economic education for all our children, as I’ve been doing.  And I’ve written and spoken extensively to that effect, too.  As well as being extensively on record explaining the damage to our society and children’s futures done by the continuing metastasis of government excess, especially the new tax she falsely embraces as something that will actually improve education in NV.  My service as a legislator, regent, controller and otherwise also show my commitment to education and building a strong economy and society so our children can flourish and everyone has a better future.

Any due diligence on her part to learn my positions before writing an accusatory email such as hers would have revealed all that.  So, instead of being a simple question, it’s an accusation that is false on its face – a lie.  And being made recklessly and maliciously as noted above, calling it out as hate, etc. is entirely reasonable and fair.  More than that, I gave her extensive facts, logic and reasons for my positions and actions – so, my response to her was much more helpful than the churlishness of her question deserves.

Further, I explained to her a few of the things I’ve done in this regard that refutes her entire claim and viewpoint about me, such as proposing a budget that would have increased K12 spending while not raising taxes – i.e., a constructive approach that addresses simultaneously both problems, NV K12 and the damage from government excess.  I could have added, as I’ve noted extensively elsewhere, that the commerce tax was in no way necessary to the governor’s spending package.  The K12 spending increases were much larger than the current yield from the commerce tax, and our budget offered other economies that would have covered the revenues that would be lost by repealing that tax.  Remember, the commerce tax net revenues are less than 0.7% of total state spending.  (The reason to repeal it is what the political Establishment will do with it in the future, as well as its absolute unsoundness as tax policy – as evidenced by other states’ retreat from GRTs.)

Above all, for anyone who understands how the budget and state spending and revenues work, I’ve previously shown in our columns that repealing the commerce tax would have no effect at all in the current biennium – except to reduce the ending fund balance.  No shortfall, no hole in the budget, no unbalanced budget, no uncertainty, no emergency legislative session, etc., etc.  Repealing it would mean simply that when the legislature meets next year it would have 0.7% lower total revenues than it would have without repeal.

I guess, Jon, you can’t see the lie and the malice in her characterization of what I’m trying to do because such hate and lies are your stock in trade.  You regularly do what she does by ascribing motives to other people they don’t have and that are not reasonably inferred from their actions or words.  And many people you regularly laud also engage in the indecent habit of trying to stuff words and motives into other peoples’ mouths.  So when she does it to me, you don’t even recognize the foul, let alone its flagrance.

If she really had meant to do what you claim – ask a simple question – she could have said: “Why do you propose to cut a tax revenue source when some people claim we need it to improve K12 education?”  I’d have been very happy to answer such a simple, honest, non-hateful question with all the same facts and logic, and I wouldn’t have had to call out her manifest dishonesty and malice.  A fair reading of my response may find it caustic in small part due to my exasperation with yet another rendition of the straw man approach that’s your specialty, but still very fair for nonetheless giving her lots of facts, logic and information central to the issue at hand.