Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Get Serious.

This is the second week of the 77th session of the Nevada Legislature. And after promises of this time being different, the powers that be in Carson City are working hard to keep the status quo in place. Just try reading this without spewing out your morning coffee.

Hanging over the tax discussion is a margins-tax ballot initiative that the state teachers union hopes to pass either in the Legislature or on the ballot in 2014.

That uncertainty could be enough to persuade legislators to defer major tax structure changes until the 2015 session, said Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno.

“Going forward, frankly, the teachers' tax initiative is casting a shadow over any serious discussion of taxes because it could trump next session anything that is done this session,” Hickey said.

Repealing the sunset taxes and replacing them with solid revenue sources would make the state less reliant on budget gimmicks and provide predictability for businesses and state policymakers.

There he goes again. Pat Hickey is actually claiming that The Education Initiative is hindering "serious discussion of taxes". So what exactly is his definition of serious?

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) wants to swap the "regressive" vehicle license fee for a regressive sales tax on services. Both Roberson and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-North Las Vegas) like the concept of enacting a regressive sales tax on services. And Kirkpatrick & Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis (D-North Las Vegas) want to cement in place the politically convenient 2009/2011 "Sunset Taxes". Seriously, how is this "serious"?

Nevada workers, including the teachers who know firsthand the challenges faced in our schools, have brought forward a real proposal for tax reform. They're proposing restoring $800,000,000 for Nevada schools by charging a 2% margins tax on businesses that earn more than $1,000,000 a year. And now that many Nevada voters have submitted their petitions to the Legislature, the Legislature can act on this.

The Education Initiative offers serious and real tax reform. If legislators were actually serious about tax reform, they could try listening to their constitutents.

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