Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, a Republican, and former Nevada Assembly Speaker Joe Dini, a Democrat, have joined forces to convince Nevadans they should oppose the teachers' union tax initiative.
The teachers have proposed a constitutional amendment raising the tax on Nevada's largest casinos by 3 percent to 9.75 percent. The money would be dedicated to teacher salaries and student achievement.
"We're calling the teachers' union proposal what it is - a tax grab," said Vucanovich, the first woman elected to federal office in Nevada and a seven-term veteran of Congress before she retired. "It's designed by one special interest group to benefit its own members at the expense of rural communities and our state economy."
Dini, who served a record eight times as Assembly Speaker over his 34-year legislative career, called the initiative an "extreme proposal."
He said the 44 percent increase in casino taxes would force some out of business and hurt rural Nevada. He said it sets up a formula for distributing the money that would give more per student to Clark County schools and less to rural schools than they now get per student under the Nevada Plan.
He said it would also "handcuff the Legislature from providing emergency financial help to the state when it needs it."
"I can't think of a worse idea," he said.
The two said they are urging voters, businesses and organizations in rural and western Nevada to sign up as members of Nevadans Against the Tax Grab and to encourage voters to reject the teachers' union petition.
The initiative petition won the right to collect signatures from a district judge but the Nevada Resort Association has appealed that ruling to the Nevada Supreme court.
The opposition organization has a Web site at www.NoTaxGrab.com
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.