Just under a month ago, Governor Brian Sandoval was hailed wide and far for pushing through a budget that increased taxes to raise money aimed at improving Nevada’s school system.
But not everybody was happy about it.
Now Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers, along with State Controller Ron Knecht, are going to try to get enough signatures to get a ballot measure into the 2016 general election.
That measure would seek to repeal Senate Bill 483, which raised or extended about $1.4 billion in taxes.
Councilman Bob Beers talked with KNPR’s State of Nevada about why he is seeking the repeal of the governor’s tax measure, which has already been signed into law
Beers said he received several calls from people expressing concerns about the tax hike. The callers are worried that the gross receipts tax component of the tax package will hurt the economy and reduce jobs.
“I agree,” Beers said.
The councilman says four to five different groups of people are involved in the effort and have the funding to move forward with a signature drive.
Beers and Knecht are now working together to point the groups in the right direction and “moderate their anger” to focus just on the gross receipts tax.
“The left is fond of calling the folks on the right, who oppose expanding government, extremists, and in fact, it is exactly the opposite of what’s going on here. The folks who just expanded government are really the extremists,” Beers said.
Beers said it is really represents a 1 percent decrease in the funds raised by the tax and fee increase passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor.
“It just seems that it is a very moderate approach that is more focused on saving people’s jobs than it is on trying to modify this rather extreme, yet another, yet again, expansion of government,” Beers said.
When asked what evidence he has that business will in fact be hurt by the gross receipts tax, Beers said, “Just history. I don’t know if you consider history evidence.”
Beers argues that 1 percent will be passed onto employees or customers, making the whole effort a “net zero game.”
The councilman does believe education needs to be fixed.
“Absolutely the system can stand some improvement,” Beers said.
But he says there is an essential question of how big we’re going to make government, what we’re going to put into the hands of government and how we’re going to structure taxes. It is the structure of the gross receipts tax that concerns him the most.
“That is really the problem with this gross receipts tax. It is tailor made for tweeking ever session.” Beers said. “It is way unpredictable.”
Beers expects to start collecting signatures sometime in August.
Bob Beers, Las Vegas city council
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