Margins tax might not add a dime to education funding

Money is fungible.

This fact appears to have escaped the backers of a margins tax on businesses that is supposed to raise money for K-12 education. The measure is on the November 2014 ballot.

The Nevada State Education Association teachers’ union estimates the tax would raise $800 million a year, a contention business leaders seriously doubt.

But 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 — the very definition of fungible, as reported in this week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

“The only two things in the initiative that specify education is the title, which says ‘education first,’ and then the fact the initiative requires the money to be deposited in the DSA (Distributive School Account),” says Carole Vilardo, president of the Nevada Taxpayers Association. “There is no language in the initiative that says the money must go to education or that existing revenue that goes to education cannot be supplanted.”

Vilardo noted that a 3 percent tax on hotel rooms in Clark and Washoe counties was earmarked to improve student achievement and increase teacher salaries.

“The Legislature turned around and changed the use of the revenue. It went to the general fund the first year, and then it went into the DSA. It was to come out of the DSA for July 1st of 2011 (and go into a special education support fund). In the 2011 session it was delayed until July 1st of 2013. In the last session it was further deferred to July 1st of 2015.”

“This is what scares me about this upcoming election,” said Kelly Bullis, head of a Carson City certified public accounting firm. “I don’t think the average low-information voter is going to get this. The way this law is written, the money that is collected from this tax is put in the general fund that’s marked for education. What that means is that big pot that the Legislature basically has, this general fund, that they move stuff around. That’s what they vote on every two years. If you already have a lot of money in the education fund, then they don’t need to take money from something else to put in the education fund.”

The legislature could even decrease education funding and there is nothing in the margins tax initiative to stop it, Vilardo said.

Read the entire column at the Ely or Elko website.

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3 comments on “Margins tax might not add a dime to education funding

  1. But…Nevada VOTERS are extremely SMART and savy, when it comes to TAXES (taxpayers will avoid any tax increases like the plague)…THIS BALLOT INITIATIVE WILL GO DOWN IN FLAMES, in the 2014 election cycle

  2. Gangnam style fan says:

    So many children are being misdiagnosed with autism these days. Special education officials need to be on the look out for parents who push their doctors, or hire “special education advocates” to insist their children are really autistic when there is no OFFICIAL autism diagnosis for the child. In California, there is rampant abuse of the autism label among parents of young children trying to get their children extra help in the classroom, when if you look at these children, they are talking normally, walking, writing, reading and doing everything normal, but may only be “mentally ill” with bipolar, depression or have aphasia (loss of speech) or dysphasia (difficulty comprehending speech) due to subclinical or obvious seizures. Truly a problem situation that is rooted in the overall ignorance and confidence of doctors, psychologists, special education administrators and school psychologists to properly discern who is autistic and who is not. And WHAT other disorders and conditions can mimic autism. A truly autistic person always presents as being in their own world, they DO NOT answer your questions like normal non autistic children! You will see echolalia (repeating the same sentences or words) or you’ll see obsession on ONE or TWO subjects. You’ll also see obsession on routines and rituals. Obsessions with water play. Mild to severe self injurious behaviors. And a hallmark trait of autism is fixations on different foods, flavors and textures. Don’t be fooled by parents who want their children to be autistic because they themselves are mentally ill and don’t know how to care for their children. Or are taken in by the “hype” of autism around them. The last straw was when yet ANOTHER mom told me her child was diagnosed with “high functioning” autism, but admitted he “may be just PDD (pervasive developmental disorder)” When I asked her, “Does it bother you that your son may be labeled with autism when he really doesn’t have it?” the mother said, “I don’t really care. So long as he gets the services he needs in school.” There you have folks. The autism label is no longer about autism, it’s about people like Jenny McCarthy who never had an autistic child (he had Landau Kleffner Syndrome) but rode the autism wave and made millions off her books, and parents who don’t really have autistic children, but insisting they do, are now costing taxpayers millions by having their children diagnosed with autism “for the services” and some autism researchers who don’t give care if they are really including real autistic children and adults in their studies, cuz it’s just about money. No wonder there is an “epidemic” of autism, because there is an “epidemic” of people who are so CLUELESS about what autism is and isn’t, has created MASS chaos and confusion. Wake up people.

  3. […] there is no assurance any of the margins tax revenues would ever be spent on […]

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