LAS VEGAS — Hundreds of tea party supporters rallied in northern and southern Nevada on Friday to urge lawmakers not to raise taxes as they work to pass the state's next budget.
Congressional candidate and former Harry Reid foe Sharron Angle said at a rally outside a government building in Las Vegas that "tea" stands for "taxed enough already."
"We're not quitting until we have a country that has gone back to constitutional principles — that has stopped the excessive spending," Angle said. "We are not a nation of debtors and we need to start acting like that by paying off this debt."
In Carson City, tea party supporters lobbied legislators and held a rally in support of Gov. Brian Sandoval's pledge against raising taxes. Legislative police said about 250 people were at the rally as it began. About the same number went to the Las Vegas rally.
Adam Stryker, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Nevada, said raising taxes now would hurt Nevadans at a time when many are struggling.
"That's the kind of fight that's brewing — on statewide issues," Stryker said. "The statewide issues are what's first and foremost."
Last year, tea party supporters focused on the election, with Reid their main target.
Margy Bethers, a Dayton resident who came to the Carson City rally with her sister Judy Dent, said she is angry about government spending on things that are not productive.
"We're frustrated, and there doesn't seem to be any viable release," she said.
Angle, a candidate for the U.S. House, didn't mention the Nevada budget during her speech in Las Vegas. Her husband spoke in Carson City.
Her primary opponent, retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, said the U.S. tax code should be purged to shake out special interests.
"We want to give our fair share to a government that is smaller," Lippold said.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed a $5.8 billion, two-year spending plan and has pledged to veto any bill that includes a tax or fee increase. Democrats concede that while deep cuts are necessary, they take exception to big cuts to education and social service programs.
Republicans in the Legislature have so far stood firmly by Sandoval. While Democrats have majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, they lack the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass tax increases or override a veto from the governor.
Associated Press writer Deb Weinstein in Carson City contributed to this report.
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