Updates

February 19, 2019
19 Feb 2019

Political Update – February 19, 2019





Democrats want new taxes without a two-thirds vote 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

February 5, 2019

Some Nevada Democrats aren’t satisfied with having a Democratic governor and large legislative majorities. They also want to ignore the state constitution to make it easier to raise taxes.

In the mid-1990s, Nevadans overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment mandating that tax increases receive two-thirds approval from each legislative body. Alternatively, a simple majority of legislators can seek voter approval for a tax hike.

“An affirmative vote of not fewer than two-thirds of the members elected to each House is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates or increases any public revenue in any form,” Nevada’s constitution states.

That’s all-encompassing and unambiguous, which is a problem for Gov. Steve Sisolak.

His budget, despite his claims to the contrary, contains a tax increase. Under current law, the modified business tax rate will decrease in July. But Sisolak wants to maintain the current rate in order to help fund his record-setting spending spree. While Democrats have a supermajority in the Assembly, they are one vote short of two-thirds control in the Senate.

That leaves Democrats two constitutional choices. Either cut a deal with Senate Republicans to get a vote or increase spending by 10 percent instead of 11 percent.

Democrat leaders, however, are considering a third option: ignoring the constitution.

Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson said recently he doesn’t believe extending a tax rate requires a two-thirds vote. Sisolak has hinted that he agrees. Their argument is that because the rate stays the same, it’s “not a new tax,” in the words of Atkinson.

But that line of reasoning falls apart once you look at what the constitution actually says.

To extend a tax rate, the Legislature must pass a bill. That bill will increase revenues, which is exactly why Sisolak wants the tax rate extended. The constitution requires a bill that “increases any public revenues in any form” to pass with a two-thirds vote in each house or receive voter approval.

*NEW*

 

 

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

"Politicians are happy to promise above-market compensation to government unions, as they do so with other people’s money. Moreover, politicians are keenly aware of the outsized role these organizations play in the election process, essentially operating as tax-funded political action committees.”

 

Robert Fellner,

NPRI Policy Director

 

Collective bargaining for state workers is about politics, not fairness

Nevada Policy Research Institute

February 13, 2019

Granting collective bargaining powers to Nevada state workers will increase annual spending by an estimated $500 million annually, a cost that will be passed onto taxpayers through higher taxes, reduced services or both.

The arguments most commonly used in support of Senate Bill 135, which is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Government Affairs Committee next Wednesday, is the false belief that state workers are underpaid.

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