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Vegas Chamber files lawsuit against sales tax initiative petition

Posted at 4:45 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 09:34:20-05

The Vegas Chamber, the state’s largest and broadest-based business organization, filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s First Judicial District Court in Carson City against the initiative petition that would add 1.5% in Local School Support Tax in every county in Nevada.

“Transparency is an essential element to enact sound policies for the future of our state. Unfortunately, this initiative petition fails to disclose to voters the full story - that it would raise Clark County’s sales tax rate to one of the highest in the country. The petition does not make clear that it will raise costs for Nevada families on everyday goods such as clothing, shoes, and school supplies, nor does it inform voters that it will have a chilling effect on retail spending by visitors to our region. This petition is reckless tax policy and does not enlighten voters of the significant burden it will place on Nevada families and the damage it will have on our economy.

“The Vegas Chamber believes that the Legislature, not the ballot box, is the best place to enact sound tax policy because it allows for open conversation with a wide range of stakeholders to fully consider impacts and consequences. The Vegas Chamber remains committed to working with Governor Sisolak and the Nevada Legislature to address state funding levels for K-12 education in a thoughtful and deliberative manner with all interested parties at the table.”

The Clark County Education Association is trying to raise more than $1 billion for education in Nevada through 2 initiatives. The union's executive director says the cash will help address the district's perennial money problems. The first part of the 2 initiatives would increase non-restricted gaming license tax. The 2nd initiative is a request to increase local school support tax, that's a portion of the sales tax, by 1.5%.

PREVIOUS STORY: Clark County teachers union: Tax initiatives are 'final fix' for classroom funding

The Nevada Resort Association filed a similar lawsuit in Carson City District Court on Tuesday because of the proposed increase to the gaming license tax. They released the following statement:

"By targeting Nevada’s economic engine with a 44 percent tax increase, this proposal would be very damaging to the state’s economy, job creation, capital investment and future economic development. Let’s be very clear, the gaming industry has consistently supported a broad-based business tax to support public education and has a long history of investing in and supporting our schoolchildren. As a matter of sound and equitable policy, broad-based taxes are a more stable revenue stream than the volatility that comes with depending on a single industry. “As Nevada’s largest industry, we generate nearly $68 billion annually for state’s economy, pay almost 40 percent of the state’s general fund revenue and support more than 450,000 jobs statewide. Unfortunately, one of the teachers’ unions has chosen a path of higher pay at the expense of tens of thousands of other jobs throughout the state.”

Supporters of the petition have until November to gather about 98,000 signatures then it will go to the legislature in the 2021 session.

If lawmakers don't approve or fail to act, it will be up for voters to decide.