Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2014

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State Senate’s top Democrat denies telling caucus not to take a position on margins tax

Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said the Democratic caucus is not barred from taking a position on the margins tax ballot initiative that will go before voters in 2014.

Last week, a state senator told a Sun reporter that he has been asked by his caucus not to take a position on the initiative, which would impose a 2 percent revenue tax on businesses making more than $1 million a year.

But in an interview for To the Point, Denis said caucus members are free to take a position if they want to.

"We’ve told our members, like every other big issue that comes up, you really need to consider what it is you are going to do," Denis said. "We haven’t told anybody that they can’t if they want to. And we have some who already have. If we have told people they shouldn’t do anything, then we’ve got people that did. That's the thing, if they want to take a position they can."

Four Democratic senators have indicated they would support the margins tax initiative, which would provide additional funding for education. But Democratic leadership in both the Senate and the Assembly have steadfastly refused to take a position. No Democratic Assembly members have voiced support for the initiative, which is backed by the Nevada State Education Association.

Denis has not said whether he will support the initiative, but expressed frustration that the Legislature has been unable to come up with a way to better fund the state's lagging education system.

"I’m supportive of things that are going to fund education, but I still think we as a Legislature need to step up and figure out what it is," Denis said. "If we don’t then we will have what we have now."

The full interview, which aired Saturday, can be seen here.

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