Commentary – Referendums and the Governor’s Budget

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“…The fact this new “Commerce Tax” on a company’s gross revenue is already causing major headaches for Nevada businesses and their bookkeepers is secondary to the betrayal of the public’s will it represents….”

The games have begun.

Two committees are proposing referendums related to the 2015 legislative approval of SB483 – the bill creating the largest tax hike in Nevada history. The $1 billion plus in tax increases enabled within this bill includes the creation of a Gross Receipt tax, noted as a Commerce Tax, the first in Nevada history.

The We Decide Coalition is pushing a referendum proposing to repeal the entire tax bill

  • This coalition collected the required number of signatures and has been filed with the Secretary of State.
  • In anticipation that those against this attempt to repeal the entire tax package (The PAC supportive of the budget as approved), the We Decide Coalition also filed a preemptive lawsuit asking a judge to declare the referendum does not violate the “single subject” rule.
  • And, as expected, the PAC defending the tax hike package has filed a lawsuit challenging the tax repeal referendum.
  • So, to this point no effort has moved forward to begin collecting the required number of signatures to place it on the November 2016 ballot.

The Nevada 80 Coalition proposes to repeal only that portion of the tax package implementing the Gross Receipts Tax, aka the Commerce Tax, aka the Margin’s Tax. Due to issues involved in creating a document compatible to constitutional requirements, to my knowledge, this has not yet been filed with the Secretary of State. If or when it is, it, too, can expect legal challenges.

The Governor and a number of other officials are rather upset with both referendum efforts and those individuals involved with them.

And, obviously, a vast number of Nevadans are upset with the Governor and those 48 legislators who imposed the Gross Receipts Tax on businesses – in direct conflict with the will of 429,324 Nevada voters who opposed the Margins Tax initiative in November 2014 (A near 80-percent majority); and, for passing the largest tax hike in Nevada history without serious consideration of other options.

If, by June 2016, the initiatives have passed successfully through the legal challenges and the required number of signatures are collected for either or both referendums, one or both will appear on the November 2016 ballot.

The issue goes deeper than the public simply being upset with the tax increases and the imposition of the voter defeated Commerce Tax. Many understand that government – quality schools and programs, roads, emergency services, law enforcement, et al cost money and costs do increase; however, just barely beneath the surface lies the public’s complete frustration and anger with being continually lied to and betrayed by those they vote for – those who campaign on voter friendly promises and then betray them once elected.

I am dismayed to say that our current Governor led the pack with his blatant lying to the voters in regards to the Margins Tax in particular and the entire record setting tax package in general. Those 48 legislators (8 Republican Senators and 13 Republican Assemblymen, included) simply followed suit.

Show me one elected official who openly campaigned in support of a Gross Receipts Tax and a record setting tax hike.

Now we must listen to the Governor, U.S. Senator Reid, compliant legislators and commentators label those who are attempting to repeal this legislation passed by those elected upon their lies as – “liars”, “cuckoos”, “idiots”, “losers”, “ignorant”, et al. Isn’t that something – our highest state official and most senior U.S. Senator, resorting to taunting and calling those who are simply exercising their constitutional rights, school yard names?

The Governor and these same legislators are now going about the state touting the good things being accomplished with the abundance of additional revenue (and, yes, there are and will be good things achieved with this additional revenue) – and asking that you believe them when they say the Gross Receipts Tax, aka Commerce Tax, is NOT the same as the defeated Margin’s Tax initiative – these same politicians who got elected on their repeated lies.

The fact this new “Commerce Tax” on a company’s gross revenue is already causing major headaches for Nevada businesses and their bookkeepers is secondary to the betrayal of the public’s will it represents.

Whether you support or oppose these initiative efforts, support or oppose the tax package – if it is eventually shown the process as defined within our state constitution is followed, we should accept these efforts for what they are – the people exercising their rights. What type of government have we arrived at when those officials elected on lies and deception can betray their promises and expect the masses lie down and accept whatever laws are then passed by them?

If, in the unlikely chance these initiatives do move forward to the 2016 ballot, the blame is solely on the shoulders of those arrogant enough to believe they can unapologetically lie to the voters and, once elected, proceed to simply listen to and cater to the wishes of this state’s legislative special interests and “powers that be”….as was so blatantly evident in the 2015 legislative session.

If a candidate genuinely feels our state needs additional revenue to move forward in today’s economy, I ask they have the conscience and resolve to campaign on that premise – with an open mind to all revenue enhancing alternatives. Quit hiding behind lies and deception.

Think about it.

Nancy Dallas, Editor/Publisher

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