The spin has begun
“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is the right thing to do.”
Potter Stewart, Associate Justice US Supreme Court 1958-1981
It has been and is continuing to be described by many as the most historic legislative session in Nevada history – for a variety of reasons, but primarily for the legislative approval of the largest tax hike in Nevada history and the first Gross Receipts Tax in Nevada history.
And, I would suggest that in light of the overwhelming November 2014 defeat of the Gross Receipts ballot initiative, this session will be forever remembered as the greatest betrayal of voter sentiment in Nevada history – by both parties.
The 429,324 voters (78.74-percent) who defeated the Margins Tax Initiative were not just Republicans!
The Governor and the majority of Republican State Senators and Assemblymen made a mockery of campaign promises and the initiative petition process. All the (pre-planned) flowery rhetoric now being spouted by these dishonorable ‘representatives’ cannot erase the fact their word cannot be trusted. Any semblance of political integrity has been put to rest in Nevada with this absolute scorn for the will of the people and to the detriment of many small businesses.
- I personally would not sign any such pledge, but those who do sign the Taxpayer Pledge and proceed to betray it once elected cannot be trusted.
- Those who did not sign the pledge but openly promised to end the ‘Sunset Taxes’ and vowed to vote against a Gross Receipts Tax – and subsequently supported the Governor’s Revenue Plan, are just as deceitful and cannot be trusted.
I have lost respect for all of the above…and my memory will not be short or blurred by the rosy rhetoric they are now spouting. I compare their deceitful promises to our President’s deceitful promises in regards to the Affordable Care Act – empty, insincere and self-serving.
This commentary is not to debate the merits or demerits of this massive revenue bill, or to argue to the benefits or lack of good that may or may not come from it. There are certainly elements of good to agree upon and elements to argue about; however, the benefits do not justify the devious, shameful means used to achieve them.
I can respect and understand a legislator’s vote against an issue I personally may disagree with – if that vote is not a betrayal of what they have stated and promised as their personal platform; however, even with an assumption these betrayers genuinely felt the $1.3 billion tax increase was necessary, each of these arrogant, self-serving representatives did not only betray their word, they made no apparent effort to insist the Governor go back to the drawing board and find revenue to support his agenda from a source other than from a Gross Receipts Tax.
The Governor’s first proposal (with a lengthy and complicated Gross Receipts Tax formula) flew through the Senate with little discussion and only four nay votes. Knowing the Assembly lacked the votes for a 2/3 majority passage, the Governor made a few changes and the revised revenue plan passed both houses – with a revamped “Commerce”, aka Gross Receipts, Tax. The basics are:
- Allows an exemption of the first $4 million in gross revenue, with fewer categories.
- Allows a credit of 50-percent of a company’s Modified Business Tax (a tax a business pays on each employee) to be deducted from the Gross Receipts (Commerce) tax, or, if the MBT is greater, you can credit 50-percent of the Commerce Tax to the MBT.
- Increased the Business License Fee
- Increased the Modified Business Tax (a tax on employees)
The Governor and his cohorts strong-armed the wavering and the needed votes fell in place. I will never again trust his word or the word of those who supported a gross receipts tax; and, given the opportunity, I will not vote for a single one of these betrayers of the public’s will.
Think about it.
Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor
NewsDesk (Est. January 2003)