Clark County teachers union pushing huge tax hike
Elko Daily Free Press
January 23, 2020
The Clark County teachers union this past week launched two tax hiking ballot initiatives that would raise Nevada taxes by $1.4 billion — devastating the state’s economy and doing nothing to actually improve the quality of education.
One proposal would increase the Local School Support Tax — a part of the statewide sales tax — from 2.6 percent to 4.1 percent, a 58 percent increase that is estimated would raise $1.1 billion a year. If passed, in Clark and Lincoln counties the overall sales tax would jump from 8.375 percent to 9.875 percent, among the highest rates in the country. In Mineral, Eureka and Esmeralda counties, which have the lowest current rate, the tax would jump from 6.85 percent to 8.35 percent.
The teachers union said the money could be spent to reduce class sizes and counter teacher attrition — meaning pay raises.
Sales taxes are highly regressive. The poor pay a much higher percentage of their incomes, making the poor even poorer.
Also, the label Local School Support Tax is now a misnomer. The 2019 Legislature revamped the statewide school funding formula in such a way that local sales taxes no longer go to local schools. Assembly Bill 543 swept all local taxes into one statewide pool. Instead of simply funding schools on a per pupil basis, the money is allocated in such a way that more money goes to schools with at-risk pupils — such as English learners, children of the poor and those with disabilities.
It is projected that the formula will drain money from rural schools into the larger districts, Clark and Washoe.
A recent article in the Lahonton Valley News about the newly created state Commission on School Funding reported that Elko County could lose $1,600 per student or nearly $16 million based on its nearly 10,000 enrollment. Douglas County estimated it would lose $8 million and Humboldt County about $4 million.