Governor proposes more of the same with more of our money

Gov. Sandoval gives State of the State speech. (R-J photo)

 

It is called bait and switch.

Just over two months after the voters of Nevada rejected by a 79 percent majority a margin tax on gross receipts of businesses that its backers claimed would raise $800 a million in tax revenue, on Thursday night in his State of the State address Gov. Brian Sandoval announced plans to increase taxes by nearly $600 million a year with a third of that coming from what the governor euphemistically called a “graduated” business license fee.

Though Sandoval never used the phrase “gross receipts” in his speech, media reports prior to the speech said the license fees would be tied to gross receipts. This means the governor’s plan has the same business stifling flaws that he and others decried so convincingly about the margin tax.

And those media reports said Sandoval intends to raise the modified business tax or payroll tax to 2 percent for mining, the same as banks pay, though others pay 1.17. This disparity in tax burden is one of the very things the Tax Foundation criticized Nevada for in its recent study. Sandoval never mentioned it. He also plans to hike the cigarette tax, which he failed to mention.

Those taxes that were supposed to sunset years ago. They won’t, if the governor gets his way. His proposal is to spend $7.3 billion over the next two years on the general fund. The state actually will spend a total of $23.5 million when everything is accounted for, including $7 billion in federal funding for things like Medicaid.

Most of this new general fund revenue is to be thrown at the public schools.

The governor did not mention any cuts, though he singled out collective bargaining reform three times, all in the context of the public schools. No details.

About the only thing the governor proposed that might improve education is spending $30 million on making sure students can read by the third grade and not promote them if they can’t.

Most of the things the governor plans to spend money on have not been proved beneficial.

In fact, the so-called Zoom Schools for English learners that he plans to spend $100 million on have not succeeded in Clark County, which spent nearly $40 million on 14 Zoom Schools and not one of them improved in the statewide academic star ranking. Four actually lost a star.

In addition to all those taxes and futile spending efforts, Sandoval plans to hit local property tax payers by allowing expired school capital improvement bonds to be extended.

The governor also plans to take over poor performing schools statewide and have them run by the superintendent that Washoe County just fired.