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Give us a break, Joe

Regarding Ralph Heller’s August column ["What Would Vincent Van Gogh Have Thought of Taxing the Deaf"], what a combination, like oil and water. Assemblyman Joe Dini of Yerington it seems believes a handful of oil paintings will do great things for Nevada and bring thousands of people from all over the world to view them.

Give us a break, Joe, and all of you other members of the state legislature who voted for the art tax break. We know who you are and we trust your constituents will also in November of ’98.

How about giving us the tax break in ’98?

Ken Mahal
Nevada Seniors Coalition
Las Vegas

Yes and No

State legislators receive a totally indigestible amount of information via each day’s mail. Prioritizing the mail helps considerably. My first priority mail has A, B, & C categories. Mail from NPRI is a top priority. Having said that, I must say as a Democrat, I vehemently disagree with a considerable number of your articles.

Your article "Nevada’s Real Tax Burden" seems to me a bit distorted. I totally agree with NPRI that our tax revenues have soared almost unimaginably. Growth has paid for itself—on the revenue side; but our governments have squandered those revenues on the expenditure side. Under such conditions we just don’t need any more tax or fee increases, and I pledge to dedicate my efforts in the Assembly to fight any tax or fee increases on both the public or the private industry sector.

Harry Mortenson
Assemblyman, District 42
Las Vegas 

Does the assemblyman really want to foster the notion that an affinity for liberty equates with membership in the GOP? NPRI’s Democratic members would not agree.

It’s true that NPRI is often identified with the Republican Party, by people who should know better (Harry Reid, for example), but NPRI has just one purpose: to advance freedom and free markets. These days, our mission seems to often put us at odds with both political parties. —Ed.

Let's Seize All Assets

I very much enjoyed Ralph Heller’s article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "When the Law Becomes the Citizen's Enemy." On the question of asset forfeiture, I am much more cynical than Mr. Heller. The law was originally justified on the grounds that nobody should make money from the sale of illegal drugs. But then nobody should make money from any kind of illegal activity. So as soon as someone is arrested, let’s seize all of his assets. As it stands now, no proof has to be offered regarding the percent of assets subject to forfeiture —it's always 100% period.

The first stunner is that the law can be (and usually is) evoked before the person is found guilty, in fact before any trial takes place. You don't suppose this would inhibit his ability to hire counsel, do you? Also, it is increasingly being used as an added form of punishment. One of our gun-grabbing politicians recently proposed that any gun store caught selling a firearm to a convicted felon would have his gun store and all his stock seized under RICO. That should teach him, right! This law is also being used to seize a vehicle whose occupant has, say, a joint on his person. Since it doesn't matter whether the car is a new Bentley or a 25-year-old Plymouth, we are looking at wildly disparate sentences.

The spirit of RICO (where rightfully applicable) could be attained by fining a drug dealer as well as sending him to the slammer — after he was found guilty, of course.

Clyde Lonergan
Las Vegas


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