Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can We Be Ignored?

Can this be ignored?

Full house, overwhelming support to #SaveOurSchools #SaveNeva... on Twitpic

@ClarkCountyNev Commissioner Scow & #CSN professor prepar... on Twitpic

"There isn't biz in state that wants to pay less ta... on Twitpic

#NVLeg Assembly Ways & Means starting, @ClarkCountyNev Sh... on Twitpic

Look at all the people who flooded Grant Sawyer yesterday to plead with legislators to at least make a deal on extending the 2009 tax deal. Even with that, there must be nasty cuts to the very public infrastructure we need... But at least it won't be cut to death. But even with not much hope left (at least that politicians in Carson City will do anything close to the right thing this year) and very short notice, over 100 people showed up at Grant Sawyer in Las Vegas and ten whole sign-in sheets were filled up. And for the record, only four individuals of the ten pages were pro-Sandogibbons teabaggers.

And throughout the Assembly Ways & Means hearing on the amended AB 561 (which now just consists of extending the 2009 taxes), the testimony was mind-blowing and heart-wrenching.

Which programs will survive has been a moving target, and witnesses said they've been frustrated by the process.

"Children and families are not pawns in a game," said Jan Crandy, an advocate for autistic children and their families. "We have made them promises and taken them away."

Lifting the sunsets on the temporary taxes could help fill the gap between the governor's $6.1 billion recommended budget and the larger one Democratic lawmakers have approved. Proponents say the taxes, which include a school support tax, a modified business tax, a minerals tax and a business license fee, are already in place and have not hampered economic growth so far.

One business owner said she hadn't heard of any businesses that left the state because of those taxes and didn't see any harm in keeping the status quo.

"I'll survive," she said. "I don't know if Nevada will survive."

Several business groups, including the Nevada Mining Association and a casino association, testified that they don't want the millions in extra money they will get if the temporary taxes expire.

"It's just not necessary to give us a tax cut," said Billy Vassiliadis of the Nevada Resort Association.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has said throughout the session that he will veto any new taxes or bills extending sunsets on existing taxes; he argues the economy needs time to recover before more taxes come into play.

When even big mining and big gaming are asking to be taxed, what else can be done for gawd's sake??!!

Can this be ignored?

For far too long, we have been told to "suck it up" and "celebrate the free market". Look where that has taken us. Even though we have the cheapest state government and one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, we have the highest unemployment rate in the nation and an economy unraveling due to casinos investing more offshore and the real estate bubble bursting. The Nevada "success story" of the past has been found to be just a mirage, an illusion, a trick.

Can we be ignored?

We know what we need to fix our economy and put our state back on track. While Sandogibbons continues to dream of making it big time, many Nevadans' dreams of making it to the next day fade away. There were so many people in Grant Sawyer yesterday testifying of how they're trying to do the right thing by staying in school, working on college degrees, and aspiring for real, stable jobs. But as Sandogibbons and his merry band of cannibalistic teabaggers continue to pull the rug out from under them (by way of forcing class eliminations, school closures, further health care rationing, etc.), they don't know if they can survive here.

Yes, it's really come down to that. Can we be ignored any longer? Or will we be forced to leave? Could that be why big bid'ness is swooping in at the last minute?

Many of Nevada's largest taxpayers lined up on Wednesday in support of extending business taxes approved during the 2009 Legislature.

"We did not anticipate a rollback in the tax rates, and we support the temporary taxes going on into the future," Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley told members of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, who heard nearly four hours of testimony on AB561.

Crowley was joined by representatives of gaming industry and business industries, along with numerous advocates for education, health care and public safety, asking that $712 million in taxes that were put in place in 2009 be extended through the next biennium to help the state avoid large cuts proposed in Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget.

"As we look at what the impacts of this economy is doing to our public education system, our higher education system, health care, senior citizen support, in good conscience, we would just as soon not get a tax cut," said Billy Vassiliadis, representing the Nevada Resort Association, which includes most of the state's gaming properties.

"There isn't a business in this state, that cares about this state, that wants to see its taxes reduced while we are laying off teachers, reducing their salaries, furloughing state employees, reducing nursing home support, reducing public safety, potentially closing community colleges, increasing tuition, eliminating professors, eliminating degrees from universities, etc., etc., etc., he said. "It's just not necessary to give us a tax cut."

Can we be ignored? Or is Nevada about to get a brutal wake-up call?

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