If you know nothing about any other matter on the November ballot, we urge you to go the polls to cast a resounding “no” vote on Question 3 — otherwise known as The Education Initiative or more accurately as the margin tax.
Depending on which study you rely on, this tax could directly destroy somewhere between 3,600 and 9,000 private sector jobs without an iota of assurance that the money raised would be spent on education or, even if it is, that it would improve education.
The Nevada State Education Association has put before the voters a 2 percent margin tax on all Nevada businesses that gross more than $1 million a year. The union has estimated the tax would bring in $800 million a year in additional funding for K-12 education. Any business reaching that $1 million threshold would pay taxes on all its revenues whether profitable or not — a straw that could break a few camels’ backs.
The Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative — which is made up of retailers, miners, manufacturers and assorted businesses and business groups — has published a report showing that with passage of this tax Nevada would jump from a state with one of the lowest business tax burdens in the nation into the top five, making it difficult to attract new companies and jobs.
When added to the current Modified Business Tax, Nevada’s effective corporate income tax rate on profits would be 15 percent — the highest in the West and nearly double California’s business tax rate of 8.8 percent.
The companies subject to the tax employ the majority of Nevada’s workers and account for the majority of the state’s economic activity.
Anti-tax coalition spokesman Karen Griffin notes that “many businesses that sell goods and services in Nevada would pass on their increased costs from the tax to consumers, increasing the costs we pay for food, clothing, health care, electricity, phone bills, and other products and services.”
Another study found that the tax would effectively amount to a deduction from employee pay of $1,314 per worker per year.
Even labor unions are opposing the margin tax.
Furthermore, the ballot initiative contains no language that would prevent the Legislature from simply taking tax money that currently goes to education and spending it elsewhere, just as it did with a hotel room tax that was supposed to go to education.
If the money does go to education, there is nothing to prevent the money being spent without any incentives for performance improvement.
In the past 40 years, Nevada has increased inflation-adjusted education spending 100 percent, while SAT scores have fallen. — TM