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November 19, 2019
19 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 19, 2019

Join Keystone Corporation

The Keystone Dinner last month featuring Trey Gowdy was a tremendous success. We encourage all those who attended and those that were unable to, to join Keystone Nevada. With each new member our voice grows stronger to find and support candidates that will work for a regulatory and tax environment favorable to business growth and development.   

The 2020 election is just around the corner. The future of our state and nation will be at stake, possibly as never before. In Nevada, our goal is to return the Legislature to those who would achieve and protect our goals. Keystone serves as an institution to promote and institute that mission. We must work together to accomplish these goals.  

Please click below and join with us as we continue to participate in the great debate.

John Gibson
Chairman & President of the Board

Quote of
the week


Quote:

“Nevada’s public pension system faces two certainties. PERS will need more funding and that money will come from state taxpayers.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Nevada PERS overwhelmingly funded by government contributions

Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 11, 2019

The Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System relies more on government contributions than any state but Utah, according to data from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Annual Survey of Public Pensions.

The numbers reveal some sobering realities for Nevada taxpayers.

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.
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November 12, 2019
12 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 12, 2019

Nevada Republican business tax lawsuit on hold

Geoff Dornan
Nevada Appeal

November 11, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Republican lawsuit seeking to rule two tax bills passed by a simple majority unconstitutional is on hold until a judge decides whether LCB Legal can effectively represent the Democrats.

That issue will be argued before Carson District Judge Todd Russell November 19.

Until that question is resolved, both sides have agreed to stay further action in the case.

In the lawsuit filed in July, all eight Republican Senators charge that Democrats violated the Nevada Constitution by passing bills delaying a sunset that would reduce the Modified Business Tax and a similar sunset on the technology fee DMV is using to pay for a new computer system.

While the DMV fee is relatively small, keeping the higher MBT rate will generate generate more than $100 million Democrats and the governor dedicated to K-12 Education.

Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution says a two-thirds vote is required, “to pass any bill or joint resolution which creates, generates or increases any public revenue.”

SB551 and SB542 were passed 13-8 in the Senate, one short of that mark.

But progress toward a hearing on the issue came to a halt after Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes filed documents September 16 that the Republicans argue makes LCB the counsel for Senate Democrats.

That prompted an October 24 motion by the Republican plaintiffs to disqualify LCB Legal as counsel for Senate Democrats.

Republicans led by Minority Leader James Settelmeyer of Gardnerville argue LCB can’t represent one group of lawmakers against another.

“It is a violation of an attorney’s ethical duty to represent a client if a conflict of interest exists,” the motion to disqualify states. “LCB is statutorily required to represent the Legislature as a whole and members of the Legislature cannot represent one member of that legislative body against another in an adversarial action. LCB’s representation of defendants Cannizzaro and Clift is directly adverse to the Plaintiff senators in this action.”

They argue LCB Legal must be disqualified as counsel for the legislative defendants, “because a concurrent conflict of interest exists in violation of the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct.”

LCB Chief Litigation Counsel Kevin Powers on November 6 officially filed a brief arguing that LCB has the absolute right to intervene on behalf of the Legislature.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“It is a violation of an attorney’s ethical duty to represent a client if a conflict of interest exists. LCB is statutorily required to represent the Legislature as a whole and members of the Legislature cannot represent one member of that legislative body against another in an adversarial action. LCB’s representation of defendants Cannizzaro and Clift is directly adverse to the Plaintiff senators in this action.”

October 24th motion by the Republican plaintiffs to disqualify LCB Legal as counsel for Senate Democrats

EDITORIAL: The dramatic link between freedom and prosperity

Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 10, 2019

If you want to increase a country’s wealth and life expectancy, while decreasing its infant mortality and poverty rates, make its people freer.

Those are some of the findings in the 2019 Economic Freedom of the World Report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank. It annually compares the level of freedom in countries across the globe in categories such as size of government, property rights and access to international trade. The United States ranked fifth, up from 16th in 2016. The freest countries in the world are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland. The least-free countries are Sudan, Libya and, in last place, Venezuela.

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,

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November 5, 2019
05 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 5, 2019

 

Nation’s Report Card shows more money didn’t improve Nevada education

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

October 31, 2019

Let’s start with something you don’t hear very often: There’s good news about student achievement in Nevada. There’s bad news, too, but let’s start with the positive.

Fourth graders in Nevada had the second-highest reading score gains in the nation over the past two years. That comes from the National Assessment of Education Progress, which measures student achievement in every state. Also called the Nation’s Report Card, it’s the best way to see how student outcomes have changed over time and make comparisons between states. Since it’s run by the federal government, states can’t tinker with it to artificially improve their results. The Nation’s Report Card uses a 500-point scale.

It wasn’t a great year nationally for fourth-grade reading, as the country’s average declined. Just three states, Mississippi, South Carolina and Nevada, had increases of more than 1 point. Mississippi had a significant increase of 4 points. South Carolina and Nevada each had an increase of 3 points, which isn’t deemed significant. But this increase wasn’t a one-time occurrence in Nevada.

In 1998, Nevada’s fourth-grade reading score was 206. For context, a score of 208 denotes a student performing at a basic level. A score of 238 means a student is proficient. In 2019, Nevada’s fourth-grade reading had increased to 218. That’s 1 point below the national average and 32nd highest in the country. That’s not great, but it is an improvement worth celebrating.

Most of the other results are bad. Nevada’s eighth-grade reading score in 1998 was 258. In 2019, it’s 258. That’s down from a peak of 262 in 2013, which tracks with the national trend. A score of 243 means an eighth-grader has a “basic” understanding of reading. Scores of at least 281 denote proficiency. Nevada tied for ninth-lowest in the nation.

Nevada’s math results are disappointing. On the bright side, both fourth and eighth graders scored significantly better than in 2000. But fourth- and eighth-grade math scores have declined since peaks in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Nevada ranks in the bottom 10 in both categories.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“[People moving to Nevada] care about the kitchen table issues: school safety and quality. Is the copay for my sick kid $500? Are my taxes going to go up?”

Billy Vassiliadis in an interview with the
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nonpartisans may hold the key to Nevada 2020

Rory Appleton
Las Vegas Review-Journal

November 4, 2019

Republicans and Democrats get all the headlines. They bring in the money, and they control all partisan elected offices in Nevada.

But the true power to decide future state elections, as well as whether Nevada again breaks for a Democratic presidential candidate or sides with President Donald Trump in 2020, may rest with a growing amorphous blob vaguely resembling a voter bloc: nonpartisans.

The nonpartisan voter designation has grown in Nevada by 89 percent in the last decade, while Republican and Democratic registrations grew by 24 and 15 percent, respectively. Nonpartisans now make up more than 22 percent of the active electorate, compared with Republicans at 33 percent and Democrats at 38 percent.

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.
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October 29, 2019
29 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 29, 2019

2020 State Business Tax Climate Index

Jared Walczak
Tax Foundation

October 22, 2019

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states’ tax systems compare. While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, the Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement.

The 10 best states in this year’s Index are:

1. Wyoming
2. South Dakota
3. Alaska
4. Florida
5. Montana
6. New Hampshire
7. Nevada
8. Oregon
9. Utah
10. Indiana

The absence of a major tax is a common factor among many of the top 10 states. Property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes are levied in every state, but there are several states that do without one or more of the major taxes: the corporate income tax, the individual income tax, or the sales tax. Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota have no corporate or individual income tax (though Nevada imposes gross receipts taxes); Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida has no individual income tax; and New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon have no sales tax.

This does not mean, however, that a state cannot rank in the top 10 while still levying all the major taxes. Indiana and Utah, for example, levy all of the major tax types, but do so with low rates on broad bases.

The 10 lowest-ranked, or worst, states in this year’s Index are:

41. Louisiana
42. Iowa
43. Maryland
44. Vermont
45. Minnesota
46. Arkansas
47. Connecticut
48. California
49. New York
50. New Jersey

The states in the bottom 10 tend to have a number of afflictions in common: complex, nonneutral taxes with comparatively high rates. New Jersey, for example, is hampered by some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, has the second highest-rate corporate income tax in the country and a particularly aggressive treatment of international income, levies an inheritance tax, and maintains some of the nation’s worst-structured individual income taxes.

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.
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October 22, 2019
22 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 22, 2019

COMMENTARY: A lack of accountability, not cash, is what ails the Clark County School District

Robert Fellner
Special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal

October 19, 2019

Nevada’s education woes reflect a lack of accountability, not insufficient funding.

Nevada is projected to spend $10,197 per student this school year, which reflects a near tripling in inflation-adjusted, per-pupil education spending since 1960.

Sadly, this dramatic increase in spending has not translated into improved results. Nevada schools consistently rank among the worst in the nation, with only 28 percent of eighth-grade students performing at grade level in both reading and math.

Some blame this continued failure on insufficient funding and argue that things won’t get better unless Nevadans agree to pay substantially higher taxes.

But there is little evidence to support the claim that higher taxes and more spending will lead to better results. In fact, a recent study commissioned by the Legislature found that the amount Nevada currently spends — including both state and local expenditures — is already sufficient “to ensure all students can meet all state standards and requirements.”

Rather than seeking to burden Nevadans with a massive tax hike that is unlikely to boost performance, reformers should instead focus their efforts on addressing the root cause of the problem: the system’s complete lack of accountability.

Take, for example, the so-called evaluation systems used by the Clark County School District.

More than 100 district schools have for years received failing grades from the state, including at least one school where an incomprehensible 99 percent of students are below grade level in math.

Yet in a twist that would make Orwell proud, school officials claim that the district hasn’t had a single ineffective principal or administrator anywhere for at least the past four years (No bad principals in Clark County, evaluators say).

A similarly useless evaluation system is in place for teachers, which saw only 25 of the nearly 20,000 teachers evaluated, or 0.1 percent, rated as ineffective for the 2017-18 school year.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“With spending at $10,197 per student, the real problem facing Nevada’s public schools stems from a lack of accountability, not insufficient funding.”

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

These groups of state employees want recognition under new law

John Sadler
Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2019

When Ken Edmonds moved to Las Vegas from Chicago, he was surprised at how his co-workers viewed management. Coming from a job in Chicago, he said was used to union representation.

Edmonds is a health care worker at Desert Regional Center, a state agency that offers services to adults and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. He and his co-workers at the center have joined state corrections officers as the first groups of state employees to seek collective bargaining under legislation signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak this year. Both employee groups seek recognition as members of the American Federations of State, County and Municipal Employees. State troopers and others have also filed for recognition as members of the Nevada Highway Patrol Association.

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.
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October 15, 2019
15 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 15, 2019

 

Counties, cities spent millions lobbying the Legislature

Riley Snyder
The Nevada Independent

October 13, 2019

Local governments and cities spent more than $3.9 million lobbying the 2019 Legislature, according to a state report that found total lobbying spending by governments hit the highest amount in more than a decade.

The report, which was compiled by the state Department of Taxation, is the product of a law that requires all local governments — everything from cities and counties to police departments, school districts and hospitals — to disclose any expenditures above $6,000 on “activities designed to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation.”

After hitting a pre-recession high of $3.99 million during the 2007 Legislature, the $3.9 million spent on lobbying activities in 2019 marked the second highest spending totals reported since the disclosure law was passed in 2001 — good for nearly $32,600 of taxpayer money spent every day of the 120-day legislative session.

Local governments, which in some cases have budgets that rival or even eclipse the state’s budget, say that lobbying expenditures are justified given the vast number of bills — law enforcement, open meeting laws, financial administration and public records — that affect counties and cities. But some critics have raised concerns with allowing governments to use taxpayer dollars for lobbying purposes that may go against the wants of the public.

“What governments are promoting or pushing with lawmakers isn’t always in line with what taxpayers or citizens are going to want, and yet, us taxpayers are still funding it no matter what, even if we disagree with it,” Michael Schaus, a spokesperson for libertarian-leaning Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) said in an interview.

Initial reporting of lobbying expenditures were due a month after the end of the legislative session, but following several Nevada Independent requests to top lobbying-spenders, the Department of Taxation revised its report and issued a new version this week.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Most state and local governments are prohibited from running budget deficits, That’s good, but it hasn’t kept them from pushing costs into the future. They’ve done that by short-changing their public pension plans. In 2017, the American Legislative Exchange Council estimated that state and local governments had a $6 trillion unfunded liability in their pension obligations.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Taxes cost Americans more than amount spent on food, clothes and health care

Las Vegas Review-Journal
October 11, 2019

If you think Americans pay a lot in taxes, the numbers show you’re right.

Last year, the average American household unit spent $18,600 on taxes. That included more than $9,000 on federal income taxes, $5,000 on Social Security taxes and more than $4,400 on state and local taxes. That’s according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, analyzed by Terence Jeffrey with CNS News.

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.
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October 8, 2019
08 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 8, 2019

 

EDITORIAL: The dangers of turning the keys over to government unions

Las Vegas Review-Journal
October 3, 2019

During the recent legislative session, Gov. Steve Sisolak championed and signed a bill allowing state workers to collectively bargain. The dangerous fiscal ramifications of this move will become apparent in coming years. For a preview, however, Nevadans need look no further than Illinois to see what happens when Democrats beholden to public employee unions dominate the political process.

The Land of Lincoln is bleeding residents, who are fleeing the state’s burdensome taxes and moribund economy. From 2014 through 2018, the state lost 150,000 people, with 45,000 moving out last year alone. Middle-class families are socked with the second-highest property taxes in the nation, their tax bills often exceeding their mortgages. The Illinois Policy Institute notes that, since 1990, the state’s “residential property taxes have grown 3.3 times faster than the state’s median household income.”

Corruption, an entrenched progressive political class and cronyism certainly haven’t helped Illinois. But the inordinate power wielded by Illinois government unions is also a significant factor in the state’s population decline. Public employee unions run Illinois. Each election cycle, government unions pour millions into electing their favored Democratic candidates to state and local offices. They get paid back in spades, with ever-escalating taxes on private-sector workers forced to fund their contracts and benefits.

Illinois state workers are among the best paid in the country and make “up to 60 percent higher than their private-sector counterparts,” the IPI reports. In addition, public employees enjoy generous pension benefits that, the state Supreme Court has ruled, cannot be reduced for current workers or retirees.

Meanwhile, Illinois is a fiscal basket case. Its legislature failed to pass a budget for fiscal 2016 and 2017 and faced a deficit approaching $15 billion two years ago. The state’s credit rating hovers near junk-bond status. Outstanding pension obligations now total north of $160 billion. Many cities now must forgo basic services and lay off workers in order to cover mushrooming pension costs. For instance, East St. Louis was recently forced to turn over $2.2 million to the state in order to fund firefighter retiree checks.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Nevada is not Illinois. But it should be a red flag to Silver State pols about the dangers of ignoring public pension reform and the inevitable fiscal risks associated with empowering government unions at the expense of state taxpayers.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada attorney general sides with state Democrats in tax fight

Noell Evans
The Center Square

September 25, 2019

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is siding with Democrats in a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers challenging two tax-related bills that had passed the state House and Senate.

Ford filed a motion in the Carson City District Courtroom of Judge Todd Russell claiming that the bills, as passed, were both legal and legally passed. Ford suggests that the case be dismissed “with prejudice.”

At issue is the passage of SB551 and SB542 earlier this year. The bills, which dealt with existing taxation levels, passed by a majority but not a two-thirds one. Republican lawmakers argue that because of the taxation repercussions in the bills, a two-thirds majority was needed for passage. They cite two voter-initiatives – one in 1994 and the other in 1996 – that call for the two/thirds majority passage.

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.
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October 1, 2019
01 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 1, 2019

 

Gross Receipts Taxes Face Policy and Legal Challenges

Stephen P. Kranz, Diann Smith, Joe Bishop-Henchman
National Law Review

September 24, 2019

“Generally, the only places with gross receipts taxes today are U.S. states and developing countries.” –Professor Richard Pomp, University of Connecticut

The resurgence of GRTs is surprising, given they had all but disappeared by the end of the 20th century. Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey and West Virginia had recently repealed theirs. Every country that had a gross receipts tax, or turnover tax as they were historically called, recognized their flaws and switched to other forms of taxation by the 1970s. Public finance scholars are very critical of gross receipts taxes for the incredible damage they inflict on an economy, their lack of transparency, their imposition even on unprofitable businesses, and the economic distortions that come from the tax’s inherent “cascading” or “pyramiding”—embedding taxes within taxes, through each stage of the production chain. Adam Smith, writing in The Wealth of Nations, blamed Spain’s alcavala gross receipts tax for their national economic decline, and studies have found that developing countries adopt gross receipts taxes but switch away from them once their economy and tax collection system mature.

So, why the sudden popularity? It’s simple, really: GRTs raise enormous sums of revenue with a deceptively low tax rate, and are collected by a relatively small number of taxpayers (businesses). Oregon, for instance, estimates that their new 0.57% CAT will raise over $1 billion per year for Oregon schools, compared to the $736 million raised by the 7.6% corporate income tax. San Francisco expects to raise $250 million annually from a recent gross receipts tax increase, imposed on just 400 firms. GRTs are also a way to shift the overall tax burden from in-state businesses onto businesses with capital-intensive production, or businesses that sell nationwide or worldwide.

If GRTs in practice don’t strike you as simple, you’re not alone. Firms doing business in states that have adopted GRTs face legal and compliance issues such as easy-to-trigger nexus thresholds, how to handle nexus questionnaires, apportionment, whether to pass it forward to customers, definitional disputes, whether to adjust business processes to minimize liability, and a ramp up in administrative rulemaking. Some states have ratcheted up complexity as they try to mitigate pyramiding—for example, the Nevada Commerce Tax has 27 different tax rates—and which category a business falls in can be a difference of tens of millions of dollars in tax liability.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“If a tax is scheduled to expire, extending it is increasing the tax burden.”

Americans for Tax Reform Twitter post on Nevada’s tax extention legal challenge

2019 Legislative Report Card

Nevada Policy Research Institute
September 2019

It is to ensure that Nevada’s elected officials are held to account for the votes they cast that Nevada Policy publishes this legislative report card after every session. However, the way a lawmaker votes only tells part of the story.

Some of the most significant legislative actions occur behind the scenes, long before any vote is ever taken. To that end, Nevada Policy thought it important to go beyond merely the bills that were voted on in both chambers, and recognize specific lawmakers for their actions before votes were ever even cast.

Given the landscape of modern politics, these issue-specific “rankings” will prove crucial for citizens and activists who are looking to advance liberty by working beyond partisan politics, and engaging lawmakers on key issues.

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.
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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.
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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.

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