September 24, 2019
24 Sep 2019

Political Update – September 24, 2019

Nevada Attorney General moves to dismiss GOP business tax lawsuit

Geoff Dornan
Nevada Appeal

September 21, 2019

Attorney General Aaron Ford this week took up the cause of Senate Democrats trying to protect their votes to extend two taxes that were scheduled to sunset July 1.

He filed a motion in Carson District Court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by all eight Nevada Senate Republicans charging that those bills are unconstitutional because they didn’t get a two-thirds vote in the Senate.

SB551 removed the sunset from the higher Modified Business Tax to pump about $100 million into K-12 education. SB542 extended the technology fee DMV is using to pay for a new computer system for an additional two years.

Both passed the Senate on a party-line vote, 13-8 — one vote short of two-thirds.

“Because neither bill ‘creates, generates or increases’ ‘taxes, fees, assessments and rates,’ each bill is constitutional,” the motion argues, quoting from the Nevada Constitution’s “supermajority” provision.

Citing that language, the motion says, “there is no reasonable doubt that the supermajority provision is intended to apply to new taxes relative to prior years rather than continuing existing taxes at existing rates as the 2019 Legislature did.”

And the attorney general’s motion says that, if there is any ambiguity requiring interpretation, “this court should interpret the supermajority provision narrowly with the intent that it apply only to new or increased taxes, not to the continuation of existing taxes at existing rates from one year to the next.”

Ford filed the motion on behalf not only of Gov. Steve Sisolak, the Department of Taxation and DMV but Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas. The suit also lists Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall and Senate Secretary Claire Clift, “in their official capacity.”

Led by Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, Senate Republicans stood together, arguing that the constitutional provision has always been interpreted as applying to extending existing taxes as well as to new or raised taxes.

He argued that SB551 wasn’t even necessary to fund K-12 education because the state’s surplus is greater than the $100 million the MBT would generate. The DMV fee, by comparison, would only generate about $7 million a year.

But Democrats argued that, in a May 8 memorandum, Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes cleared their simple majority vote on the two bills.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“At the Keystone Corporation, we believe it this provision of our Constitution is worth fighting to defend, and that is why we joined this lawsuit. Further, if legislators can simply ignore the Nevada Constitution to allow for tax increases on the Modified Business Tax (MBT) and on DMV fees this year, what will happen when they try to raise our sales taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, and on and on?”

Keystone Corporation

Don’t count on Raiders reimbursing any public money for stadium

Richard N. Velotta
Las Vegas Review-Journal

September 22, 2019

It didn’t take long for an obvious question to be asked about the Raiders’ better-than-expected personal seat license sales and new revenue generated with third-party sponsors:

If the Raiders are doing so well, why can’t they pay a larger portion of the overall cost of Allegiant Stadium and reimburse the public for the $750 million it’s contributing to the project through a 0.88 percentage point increase on hotel room taxes?

The answer, simply, is that’s the deal the Nevada Legislature made when a special session convened in October 2016. The possibility of taking back some money came up when the Legislature met, as well as when the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee debated the matter 3½ years ago.

Keystone’s Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone’s Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor’s office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

September 17, 2019
17 Sep 2019

Political Update – September 17, 2019

EDITORIAL: Clark County and the great temporary tax ruse

Las Vegas Review-Journal
September 9, 2019

The Clark County Commission last week unwittingly exposed one of the scams of modern liberal governance: the “temporary” tax ruse.

Last Tuesday, the board, comprised of all Democrats, voted 5-2 to raise the sales tax by one-eighth of a percentage point to 8.375 percent. Analysts project the move — enabled by timorous Democratic lawmakers in Carson City who punted on the issue — will raise $54 million a year. While the commissioners have yet to determine where they’ll direct the windfall, expect the school district to reap much of the benefit.

Overshadowed by the decision, however, was a second tax debate in front of the commission that same day.

Back in 1998, a majority of Clark County voters backed an advisory ballot question asking if they favored a higher sales tax to pay for local water and infrastructure improvements. State lawmakers used the vote to justify imposing a quarter percentage point increase in the sales tax, and the levy has so far generated $1.4 billion. The tax is set to expire after 25 years or once it has brought in $2.3 billion.

But any poor sap who thought a Nevada government body would allow such a lucrative stream of other people’s money to go “poof” needs to brush up on Silver State civics.

Sure enough, the commissioners last Tuesday voted 6-1 to put the kibosh on the sunset. The water and sewer infrastructure tax presented to voters two decades ago as “temporary” is now etched in stone.

All this is in keeping with the sorry and predictable history of “temporary” taxes in Nevada. In order to gain support for these money grabs, the sponsors cynically insert sunset provisions, chuckling with the knowledge that it will be a cold day in Hades before the spigot ever goes dry. This ploy even allows the tax-and-spend crowd to employ the disingenuous fib that they’re not really raising taxes, they’re simply leaving rates at current levels.

This is precisely the poppycock that Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative Democrats trotted out earlier this year when they extended the modified business tax without the constitutionally required two-thirds vote. That matter is currently being litigated. Ignoring sunset provisions in various “temporary” taxes was also an integral part of former GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“But any poor sap who thought a Nevada government body would allow such a lucrative stream of other people’s money to go “poof” needs to brush up on Silver State civics.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Businesses join fight against ‘unconstitutional’ Nevada taxes

Bethany Blankley
The Center Square

September 6, 2019

Four Nevada business groups have joined a lawsuit challenging the state over two tax hikes slated to go into effect on Sept. 30 and July 1, 2020, respectively.

The Retail Association of Nevada, Nevada Trucking Association, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association joined Senate Republican Caucus in its lawsuit against Gov. Steve Sisolak, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, the Nevada Department of Taxation and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The lawsuit challenges two bills, SB 551 and SB 542, which were signed into law after being passed by a simple majority rather than the supermajority that’s usually required to impose taxes and fees.

Keystone’s Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone’s Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor’s office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

September 10, 2019
10 Sep 2019

Political Update – September 10, 2019

EDITORIAL: Empty promises for Nevada tax breaks

Las Vegas Review-Journal
August 17, 2019

The competition to attract high-profile business expansions has in recent years fostered an arms race among states. The frenzy reached a crescendo when Amazon executives played hundreds of U.S. jurisdictions against each other last year after announcing their intention to build a second headquarters.

Nevada leapt into the fray a decade ago with the creation of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, charged with dangling incentives in front of corporate titans, business owners and entrepreneurs in an effort to attract investment and jobs.

The push to convince Amazon to come to Nevada failed, of course. But the office did manage to land a big fish in 2014 when Tesla’s Elon Musk agreed to build his massive battery factory near Reno in return for $1.3 billion in tax breaks over 20 years, all dutifully approved by Nevada lawmakers.

But Telsa is just one of many recipients of state tax abatements. In total, Nevada economic development officials have showered tax breaks totaling hundreds of millions of dollars on more than 275 companies since 2009. In return, the companies promise to create a certain number of jobs and meet various investment thresholds. Some of these businesses are smaller enterprises, but major conglomerates and wealthy tech outfits also sidled up to the trough. In addition to Tesla, recipients include Apple, Switch, eBay and Scientific Games.

Critics have long argued convincingly that a more effective way to promote sustained economic growth is to create an overall tax and regulatory climate conducive to entrepreneurship and business expansion rather than to single out specific enterprises for special dispensation. An analysis published last month by the Reno Gazette-Journal provides plenty of ammunition for that contention.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“There’s nothing wrong with letting individuals and companies keep more of their own money. But singling out some entities for tax relief, while others pay full freight, smacks of cronyism and rent-seeking.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Over 2,000 PERS retirees collecting pensions over $100K

Las Vegas Review-Journal
September 7, 2019

Over 2,150 people raked in at least $100,000 apiece last year from the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada. That’s according to pension data now available at Transparent Nevada.

That number has been growing rapidly. In 2013, just over 1,000 people collected pensions worth at least $100,000. The number of retirees collecting over $200,000 a year has grown too. In 2013, 10 people received pensions greater than that amount. Last year, 23 people did.

Keystone’s Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone’s Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor’s office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

September 3, 2019
03 Sep 2019

Political Update – September 3, 2019

Super Majority Vote Requirement Ignored by Democrats

Heidi Gansert
Nevada Business Magazine

September 1, 2019

In the final days of Nevada’s 80th Legislative Session, the Democrat majority in the Nevada State Senate and Assembly wielded their power to pass Senate Bill 551 (SB551) which raised Modified Business Tax (MBT) rates beyond their scheduled July 1, 2019 levels using a new simple majority voting threshold of 50 percent plus one vote. This vote was in direct conflict with the two-thirds supermajority requirement in Nevada’s Constitution.

The two-thirds vote has been used for extending taxes like the 2009 legislative session’s “sunset” taxes, for increases in license fees, room taxes and property taxes. Simply put, the two-thirds supermajority vote provision has not been ignored, rather it’s been respected and upheld for decades. In times when a single political party controls both houses of the legislature and governorship, the two-thirds supermajority vote provision in Nevada’s Constitution for increased revenue is the sole check on the growth of taxes and government.

How Will This Affect You?

The simple majority vote for SB551 created a new and dangerous precedent to increase taxes and fees as well as remove tax credits and exemptions.

Now, with a simple majority vote, you could face increased property taxes on your home by the removal of the 3 percent statutory cap, you could be taxed on life-saving prescription drugs like insulin and you could be taxed on your electricity, gas and water. For businesses, the Commerce Tax could affect more businesses with the elimination of the MBT tax credit, inventories could be taxed and much more.

The Democrat majority forced this vote for two reasons: to establish a much lower threshold to raise taxes and to secure a greater revenue stream to support continued expansion of government. This vote was not about filling a budget hole or shoring up a revenue shortfall.

During these robust economic times, legislative fiscal staff confirmed there was over a $100 million surplus of unallocated funds available when the 2020-21 budget was finalized in late May of this year. The total taxes raised by SB551 were forecasted to be less than this $100 million surplus. And, recently, Governor Sisolak confirmed no budget hole would be created if the revenue from SB551 was eliminated. Resetting the tax voting threshold to a simple majority was critical to Governor Sisolak and his Democrat colleagues because they substantially changed the trajectory of the cost of government by passing legislation to allow collective bargaining for state employees, by requiring higher prevailing wages for school construction, by increasing the minimum wage and more.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“The Democrat majority forced this vote for two reasons: to establish a much lower threshold to raise taxes and to secure a greater revenue stream to support continued expansion of government. This vote was not about filling a budget hole or shoring up a revenue shortfall.”

Heidi Gansert

COMMENTARY: Right-to-work law boosts the Nevada economy

Mark Mix
Special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal

September 1, 2019

Nevada’s right-to-work is simple: It means no worker can be forced to join a union or pay union dues to get or keep a job. It’s basic common sense. And given the history of Big Labor’s power in Nevada, some find it surprising that the state’s had a right-to-work law for 66 years.

Right now, millions of workers around the country are forced to pay dues — or be fired — because they have the misfortune of being located in one of 23 states that do not have a right-to-work law. And every year, these workers cough up billions of dollars in forced union dues to union bosses just to have a job and feed their families.

This is just plain wrong and un-American.

Keystone’s Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone’s Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor’s office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser