Meet the possible new boss, same as the old boss?

The RJ's ever-reliable Sean Whaley provided an excellent long read Wednesday on the battle over The Education Initiative.

But the most interesting paragraphs in the piece are the last two, which, apparently, had nothing to do with the so-called margin tax:

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said last week at a legislative meeting on public- education funding that many lawmakers believe the funding is inadequate and requires more revenue.

“We know increased education funding has to happen next session,” he said. “It will happen next session. I and many others (who) serve in the Legislature, of both parties, are committed to doing that.”

Whaley wrote about last week's meeting, too, in which he also quoted the man who would be majority leader:

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said the work of the committee is predicated on an overall increase in funding for education in the next two-year budget.

“We’re not going to hurt one part of the state to benefit another part of the state,” he said. “That is not the intention. We know we have to increase the size of the education pie.”

This is fascinating.

You have the man who wants the Republicans to lead the state Senate declaring four months before the election that he will insist on an increase in education funding, something few Democrats have done. And don't forget that Roberson was the one -- not any Democrat -- who proposed the only significant tax increase last session, one on mining that could have raised $600 million for education.

No Democrat embraced or even considered his plan, the seminal moment in a session in which the majority's leadership was an oxymoron. If Democrats had jumped on board, or made a deal with Roberson for more money for education, they would have forced Gov. Brian Sandoval to veto the proposal, which would have changed the legislative and political dynamic. The Democrats might even have had an issue to run on in the governor's race, which now is nonexistent.

Well done.

Yes, it's easier for Roberson to make such promises after his primary is over. And, of course, Roberson also is trying to give comfort with his pledges to people who say TEI is the only answer to increased education funding. He is signaling to them to have faith that the Legislature will do its job should the ballot proposition fail. History says otherwise, as he well knows.

But when have you heard the potential leader of the GOP caucus declare he will support more money for education this far from a session? Answer: Never.

It's notable that Roberson did not say how much more money he would support or whether he would again back a tax plan to raise the money if revenues are not there. But compare that to the current majority leader, Mo Denis, who has proposed a "Nevada commerce tax" without any specifics and simply to catalyze the discussion.

Maybe the Democrats will awake from their slumber and get over their paranoia so a deal can get done, perhaps even with a lame-duck's Sandoval's assent. Isn't it pretty to think so?

Alas, the best argument for TEI is that few lawmakers learn from history and thus doom this evanescent discussion before it begins.