The Nevada Legislature this week approved a $1.1 billion tax increase that includes hikes on businesses, payroll, sales, and cigarette taxes. The Senate passed the package by a vote of 18–3 Monday; the Assembly approved it 30–10 on Sunday night.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to sign the package of tax hikes into law. A bill that would allow universal education savings accounts – long a goal of free-market school reform advocates – also awaits the governor’s signature.
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“This is a big blow against fiscal sanity, but it’s possible that the promised boost in education spending, funded by the tax hike, could help keep the education establishment at bay if Sandoval signs the state’s education savings account bill (ESA), which has passed through the legislature and awaits his signature. The tax hike will damage the state’s economy, but the ESA program would vastly improve the state’s education system, which is currently among the very worst in the nation. It could be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain, but only if Sandoval signs the ESA bill.”
“After passing one of the most robust school choice programs in the country Mr. Hyde reared his evil head this week in the Nevada Legislature by approving a $1.1 billion tax hike package. This massive tax increase will hurt Nevadans at every income level and move the state’s business climate in the wrong direction.”
“The Nevada legislature’s approval of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s historic tax hike plan is disappointing, to say the least. Last November, voters rejected Sandoval’s margin tax plan, with only 21.3 percent of voters casting their vote for taxing businesses’ gross receipts, in addition to all of the other taxes in the state.
“Quoting Nevada Policy Research Institute Executive Vice President Victor Joecks, Sandoval’s win ‘combines the worst elements of all the tax proposals,’ increasing payroll taxes, taxing gross receipts regardless of whether a business is profitable or not, and increasing the cost of licensing for the state’s many business owners.
“Taxes limit economic opportunity, and Sandoval’s tax hike will make it more difficult for struggling families to buy products, and more expensive for employers to hire people. Good tax policies are low, broad-based, and easy to understand. Sandoval’s package of taxes is literally the opposite of any of those. Taxes: You’re doing it wrong, Gov. Sandoval.”
“Attempts by Nevada legislators to improve education have been admirable this year. In April, Nevada enacted its first school choice program, a tax credit scholarship program available to low- and middle-income families.
“Most recently, the Nevada Assembly passed Senate Bill 302, which would create the nation’s first universal education savings account program. SB 302 would allow any child enrolled in a public school, including charter schools, for 100 consecutive days to opt into the ESA program and to have the state-allotted education funding follow the student. Parents who opt their children into the ESA program would receive 90 percent of the funding normally granted by the state – roughly $5,000 – or 100 percent of funding for students with special needs or students from low-income families. The universal ESA program would allow for greater parental control and involvement as parents could use funding for a variety of educational options including private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring, therapies and other approved education services. SB 302 awaits the governor’s signature.
“Throwing additional taxpayer dollars at a broken public school system is not the way to improve education in his state; expanding school choice will.”