Legislature: Hang on to your wallet
April 13, 2017
In the last legislative session, Republicans managed to pass the single largest tax increase in Nevada history. Apparently, Democrat state legislators can't stand to be outdone. In a twist on an old adage, they haven't seen any of your money they don't want. What is even more ironic that you are reading this as tax day nears. Here are some examples of pending legislation. Just for clarification, AB denotes an Assembly bill while SB denotes a Senate bill.
AB43 mandates a three percent minimum increase in property taxes every year. This would essentially throw out the current three percent cap on tax increases on your personal residence. I am not quite sure how this would work in conjunction with assessed values.
AB175 raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, $14 if health insurance is provided. I have written in the past about how minimum wage raises are job killers and effectively freezes out teenagers.
AB212 would prohibit the use of pupil achievement data to evaluate school district employees. While this is not a direct tax increase or cost, it directly affects the huge tax increase that the GOP passed in 2015 for education. With this, now education would get a huge amount of money with essentially no accountability, incentive or requirement for student performance.
AB269 would levy a tax on nicotine-vapor products. After decades of hearing about the dangers of cigarette smoking, the "vape" products offered smokers a safer way to indulge by eliminating the tars and other by-products of tobacco smoke. Probably because cigarette taxes are declining, this looks like an easy grab for new tax money.
SB106 raises the minimum wage to $12 per hour. This is somehow better than AB175?
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SB181 imposes increased taxes on tobacco and liquor. Combined with AB269, this is a regressive tax that harms lower income earners more than others. So much for Democrat fairness in the ever-growing search for money.
SB196 mandates that private employers must provide paid sick leave. This is another anti-business proposal from the liberal Utopians.
SB336 imposes a tax on wholesale sales of renewable energy. This one comes from Sen. Hardy, one of the few Republicans that survived the rout after the Commerce Tax of 2015. Now you can see why. There is another bill, AB206, that increases the requirement for the amount of renewable energy power companies must buy. Talk about creating a monopoly. First, mandate that more renewable energy must be purchased, then tax it more. There has to be some anti-trust implications in this.
These are a few pending bills that will hit your wallet in some way. I got these from the non-profit Nevada Policy Research Institute's "79th Legislative Session Taxpayer's Guide". You can find it at npri.org. You can also find them at the State of Nevada website.
There is a national trend away from Democrat agendas, especially the liberal ones. In Nevada, however, Democrat legislators also seem bent on creating that California utopia many of them fled from. Here are some other bills that smack of liberal agendas.
One bill out there mandates all-day kindergarten. This is despite the fact that numerous studies have shown no negligible effect on student performance after first grade. They always want more money for education, preferably public education, and apparently must now find ways to justify those requests. How about just withdrawing AB212?
There are several bills that have to do with government employees. One provides that PERS (the state retirement program) distributions must be confidential. Currently, they are not, since your tax dollars pay for contributions to the system. There are several others that attempt to change the way public employees can publicly bargain. One allows solicitation for union membership during working hours, while another makes it easier for employees to make demands
Oh, one other bad bill is SJR11. That stands for Senate Joint Resolution. This proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution by allowing for a shorter legislative session in even numbered years. In other words, if they can't find enough ways to tax you now, they want to be able to do so every year.
Again, these are just a few bills. Keep in mind, none have passed yet. If there are some you don't like, you won't be able to influence the legislators. Contact the governor's office instead. As our Assemblywoman Robin Titus said, "When you are the minority party, sometimes the best you can do is turn a steak knife into a butter knife."
Tom Riggins' column appears every other Friday. He may be reached at email@example.com.