Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2019

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GOP state senators file lawsuit over payroll tax

The state Senate Republican caucus and three businesses have filed a lawsuit alleging the extension of Nevada’s payroll tax during the legislative session was unconstitutional.

The complaint filed today in the 1st Judicial District Court in Carson City names Gov. Steve Sisolak, Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, and Secretary of the Senate Claire Clift, along with a number of state agencies.

The state’s payroll tax was set to expire this summer but was extended in the final days of the session to help pay for a teacher pay increase. Democrats said extending the tax would raise $72 million for teacher pay raises and nearly $17 million for school safety initiatives.

There was a debate between Democratic and Republican lawmakers over whether the tax extension counted as a tax increase, which would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate and Assembly. The Legislative Counsel Bureau found it was not a tax increase, but Republicans are arguing otherwise.

A spokesperson for the Governor’s office was not immediately available.

The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction freezing any action on the tax.