Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, March 10, 2013 | 3 a.m.
If there was one thing to learn at the Nevada Legislature last week, it’s this: If you run into Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce at the grocery store, back away slowly and make no sudden movements.
And whatever you do, do not mention the t-word.
At a legislative hearing on the margins tax last week, a packed committee room was witness to a tirade from Pierce that apparently started at a grocery store.
Pierce, who was recently given a stuffed honey badger as a sign of admiration from liberal activists, launched into a heated rebuke of Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Brian McAnallen when he took the table to testify against the margins tax.
Halfway through the rebuke, McAnallen politely reminded Pierce that she had made her feelings known about the chamber’s tax positions in the produce aisle.
Last week seemed to be the week for haranguing.
Most of the outbursts centered on taxation, particularly the initiative petition put forward by the teachers union that would create a 2 percent tax on business revenue.
Here’s a look at some of the top tirades in the Legislature from last week:
'You don’t like any taxes you or anybody you know has to pay.'
McAnallen was one of many businesspeople who testified against the margins tax Tuesday. And several of them were treated to a dressing-down by various Democratic lawmakers, but Pierce was perhaps the most piercing.
“You didn’t like the gross receipts tax in ’03,” she started out, harkening back to the bitter tax debate a decade ago. “You haven’t liked anything in all the terms I’ve been here. You haven’t liked anything in the quarter of a century that I’ve lived in this state. You don’t like any taxes you or anybody you know has to pay. So, what is the solution?”
'So you tell me ...'
Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick’s breaking point came when a couple of Las Vegas car dealers listed a litany of economic conditions that have made it difficult to do business in Las Vegas.
Kirkpatrick hadn’t the patience for it.
“I was feeling frustrated by you saying what a horrible place our state is, how education doesn’t matter and how businesses are going bankrupt. I believe both of you have been in business a long time.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard any group in Southern Nevada that doesn’t like anything about Southern Nevada. So you tell me: What taxes do you pay?”
'I want to hear some options.'
Assembly Majority Leader William Horne cut short a banking industry lobbyist, who remarked on the fact that the industry has been paying a higher tax than other industries since the greater tax fight of 2003, complaining that banks had a target on their backs.
“What I remember is a whole lot of different plans and each plan kept getting blown up,” Horne said. “I remember your industry adding to that chaos. You may have lost in that scrum, but you were there. And when you come to the table, don’t come with just, ‘No, no, no.’ I want to hear some options. I want to hear options from everybody. Not just that this is terrible.”
'At least she would’ve stabbed us in the front.'
Mining industry lobbyists were a bit put out last week when Senate Republicans said they’d pursue a tax increase on mining.
According to a participant in the private meeting, lobbyist Tim Crowley had some choice words for Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson.
“Maybe we should’ve supported Sheila Leslie,” Crowley reportedly said, referring to the Democratic senator who fought for a mining tax increase last session before losing her seat in 2012. “At least she would have stabbed us in the front. You stabbed us in the back.”