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New Gaming Tax Proposals Heading to Nevada Legislature in 2021

A teacher’s union in Clark County has been trying to bring more revenues to Nevada schools via two tax proposal efforts. The Clark County Education Association needed to gather over 97,000 signatures to see the proposals considered by lawmakers in the state. The changes will provide over $1 billion a year for state schools. The association was able to obtain over 200,000 signatures with each petition effort, which helped the proposals move ahead in the process.

Details of the Proposals

One of the tax proposals would increase the Local School Support Tax by 1.5%. This tax is part of the sales tax in Nevada. With this small change, it would bring in over $1 billion a year to the educational sector.

The second proposal would bring an additional $300 million by increasing taxes on gambling operators. With the two proposals approved, the state would be able to generate around $1.4 billion in new revenues.

The teacher’s union executive director John Vellardita commented on the signature effort, stating he was not surprised that the petitions were able to obtain a large number of signatures. He was surprised that the effort gathered more than double of what was needed to progress the effort.

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The proposals are moving forward at a time when the state is facing a big loss in revenue production. The economy of Nevada was heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as restrictions placed on businesses like casinos.

Over the summer, the state had to cut hundreds of millions from the budget and major cuts are expected over the next two years. Earlier this week, the Nevada Resort Association commented on the proposals, stating now is not the time to raise taxes due to the current recovery efforts.

According to the group, permanent job losses would occur along with jeopardizing capital investment and economic development in the future.

Moving Forward

The proposals were introduced by the teacher’s union in January 2020, just a few months before the pandemic began. After COVID-19 became an issue, the union changed up the proposals, but say that the virus only reinforces their belief that the state needs to stop being so dependent on the tourism industry as its main revenue driver.

With the proposals now certified via the signature process, the measures are sent to the state Legislature. Lawmakers will consider the proposals next year. If the measures are rejected or legislature does not act on them, the proposals would go on the 2022 ballot and voters can decide their fate. A vote would then see the proposals take effect by 2023.

According to Vellardita, the focus of the union now is to force a conversation with lawmakers on how to rebuild and diversify the economy. Vellardita pointed out that making these changes cannot be done without investing in education. The union feels that if lawmakers do not act on the proposals, a public vote would result in their favor. We shall see by early next year what happens in this regard and if new taxes will eventually hit the gambling industry as a result.

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