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April 26, 2015

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Teachers’ business-tax petition clears hurdle

Lynn Warne

Lynn Warne

The initiative petition by the state teachers union to impose a business tax for education has cleared another hurdle on its way to the 2013 Legislature.

The Secretary of State's Office said Wednesday the Nevada State Education Association gathered 152,703 signatures statewide on its petition, or more than double the required 72,352 names.

"The raw count is sufficient," said Scott Gilles, deputy secretary of state for elections. And the count shows that there are more than the 18,088 signatures of registered voters in each of the four congressional districts.

Gilles said the counties in each of the districts must now examine 5 percent, or 500 names, whichever is greater, to verify there are enough valid signatures of registered voters to surpass the 18,088 requirement.

The counties have nine business days to complete the verification and report back to the Secretary of State's Office by Dec. 6.

For example, there were 43,212 signatures in Congressional District 1 that includes Clark County. And in District 3 in Clark County, the raw count was 37,565.

Gilles said there were 42,011 signatures in CD 4 that includes Nye County and parts of Clark and Lyon counties. In District 2, which includes other counties, there were 29,925 names.

In eight counties, no signatures were gathered by the association.

Lynn Warne, president of the teachers union, said the 150,000 signatures are a "clear mandate" that Nevadans back a tax to support the public schools.

Asked if the proposed tax would be approved by the 2013 session, Warne said, "The Legislature should not ignore the mandate." But she would not predict passage of the proposed 2 percent margins tax on businesses with an annual income of more than $1 million.

The tax would raise an estimated $800,000 a year to go into the state's school support formula.

The Nevada Supreme Court has set Dec. 5 to hear oral arguments in Las Vegas on the petition by the union to overturn a district court decision that the initiative is defective.

All seven justices will sit on the case to decide on the ruling by Carson City District Judge James Wilson that the petition should not be presented to the Legislature because the summary of the initiative was faulty.

The court put a high priority on this case, eliminating the requirements that briefing memos be presented by the union and its opponent, the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs.

There have been comments by some legislators that more money should be funneled into the public schools.

Warne said this proposed tax is on business. Clark County voters earlier this month rejected by a 66-34 percent margin a proposal to raise the property tax for homes and businesses for school improvements.

If the Legislature does not approve the initiative in the first 40 days of the session, it will go on the 2014 election ballot.

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  1. Sure the public elected this union to set tax policy.


  2. We don't need teachers' unions dragging down our educational system.

  3. "What will the money be used for?

    Funds raised through the Education Initiative will go directly to the Distributive Schools Account-the education budget-in the state's general fund.

    This funding can be used to reduce class sizes, more tools and technology, early childhood education, a safe and supportive learning environment, and the ability to attract and retain quality educators."


    The funding that supports Nevada's public elementary and secondary schools is a shared responsibility with state, local and federal sources contributing to the school
    districts' and charter schools' operating funds. It is important to recognize that the DSA budget does not include the entire funding for K-12 education, but rather includes
    only the state's portion of the school district and charter school operating funds that provide the basic support guarantee and other state-supported programs.

  4. On a more sane note, let's hope the state legislature takes this petition seriously and passes a well reasoned and deliberative 2%+ tax policy on businesses making more than a million dollars. It's almost certain that they won't and that the petition will be on our next ballot, but let's be optimistic like Governor Sandoval always is!

  5. As a Nevada resident and citizen, I would much rather see a state-wide SALES TAX of 1 penny per taxable good or service, rather than adding further burden to property owners or businesses. This way, EVERYONE equally pays and shares the load, as ALL of society benefits from an "educated citizenry."

    Blessings and Peace,

  6. For once I am going to agree with Star on this one. Let everyone chip in here.

    The problem with this bill is that the state can cut back on their current funding of schools so this does not make for an increase in money for our schools.

    Another thing is that most of the money will be collected from Clark county but does not mean that Clark County Schools will receive most of the money. The small counties will get a better percentage than Clark county does as in the past.

    Last but not least is any business grossing over One Million Dollars per year will have to pay this tax even if their business loses money. Just more of a loss for them which could me them making a choice of paying the tax and laying off workers.

    This bill is not as good as it sounds on the surface. The devil is in the details.

  7. The Teachers union and teachers should be reimbursing the local governments for the costs of all this petition work. There is NO CHANCE that this nonsense will pass. CCSD, 51st in results yet very average in funding--teachers in CCSD are paid an AVERAGE of $74K a year for 184 7-hour days. CUT compensation already.

  8. Nevada does NOT have a revenue problem. Nevada has a spending problem BECAUSE Nevada is sanctuary to soooooo many illegals--50% of K-12 is now Hispanic with a good portion of those illegals. SECURE the border and send these invaders home. Problem solved. ENFORCE employers to NOT employ illegals. Upwards of 12% of employees in Nevada are illegals. (See LVSun and AP coverage, search engine above.) Eliminating 25%-35% of K-12 would leave plenty of funding of K-12 for American students.