Gansert's silence on tax increase is bizarre, ridiculous and unsustainable

UPDATED, 6:15 AM, 9/17/15: Here is an email I received Wednesday night from Heidi Gansert:

I wanted to follow up on our conversation today.  I support the Governor's agenda - I support his education priorities and the funding that enables our education system to modernize.  Additionally, I do not support efforts to repeal the tax package that a super majority of the legislature approved.

So....everyone clear?

I don't even know where to start with newly minted state Senate candidate Heidi Gansert's refusal to embrace (or reject) the tax increase pushed through the Legislature by her former boss, Gov. Brian Sandoval.

First, the former Sandoval chief of staff, now running in Greg Brower's seat, told the Reno Gazette-Journal's Ray Hagar on Tuesday that she did not have a position on the $1.5 billion tax increase but strangely added, “I believe the investments they made are critical for Nevada, moving forward.”

So she is agnostic on the tax increase but for the spending. Really?

Second, when I followed up with her Wednesday, she still refused to take a stand on what will be the seminal issue in most legislative campaigns, and said, "I wasn’t there during the entire tax debate, but I believe the categorical spending is the right way to go."

For the uninitiated, the "categorical spending" is what was appropriated outside the Distributive School Account, the pile of money for K-12 education, and put in silos with accoutnability measures. The total: About $350 million.

So even if she is just for that spending, she would have had to support a tax increase, right? I asked, and here is what followed:

"I was not part of that debate."

"I understand the direct connection between the two (new spending and need for taxes)."

"I wasn't part of that decision."

"I would look at it."

"I didn’t go through the budget."

"If I’m elected, I will be looking at everything."

"I am looking toward next session because I will have participated in the full debate."

This is stunning on so many levels:

1. She wasn't prepared for the most obvious question we Fourth Estaters would ask? Or she was and that is what she came up with?

2. She didn't have an obligation to look at the tax increase and budget before announcing her candidacy?

3. She didn't think to ask Sandoval, who I am sure is thrilled with her equivocations.

The Democrats, who are desperately searching for a candidate against Gansert in a key swing district, pounced:

"SLAP IN THE FACE: Sandoval’s Former Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert Refuses to Endorse His Education Plan," blared a Democratic Party release with more froth in the body of the screed.

Peter Koltak, the state Senate Democrats' top staffer, took to Twitter with gusto:

















Usually, I would mock the Democrats for their hyperventilating. In this case, I think they were too mild.