Gov. Brian Sandoval came out strongly against the idea of repealing the controversial commerce tax on Tuesday, saying it would strip $390 million out of K-12 education budgets during the biennium.
Attorney General Adam Laxalt made repeal of that tax a key plank in his run for the governor’s office in 2018.
Sandoval said repealing the tax on gross business revenues of more than $4 million a year would cause irreparable harm to education programs he and the 2015 Legislature specifically directed to including Career and Technical Education, Zoom Schools, Victory schools, Read By Three as well as special education and autism programs and even Gifted and Talented classes.
“It’s going to hurt kids, going to hurt teachers, it’s going to hurt parents,” he said. “Every single program would be eliminated.”
Sandoval said Nevada’s growth is No. 1 in the country and the tax “has not hurt our ability to attract great companies to the state.”
He said businesses aren’t objecting to that tax at all because the revenue it raises “goes straight into education.” He said the commerce tax has only been raised as an issue by one business out of the many he has talked to about locating in Nevada.
He also questioned where Laxalt plans to cut that nearly $400 million out of the budget asking what he would do to cut spending.
Despite the proposed cut in revenue, Laxalt has said one of his goals is to strengthen public education and to expand the programs aimed at early age literacy like Read By Three.
“If you’re going to cut taxes, then you’ve got to answer the other side of the question,” said Sandoval.
Sandoval said he hasn’t talked to Laxalt about the proposed commerce tax repeal. Laxalt was out of town Tuesday following the Board of Examiners meeting by phone. Sandoval said Laxalt hasn’t talked to him about the office of governor either. He said, in fact, the only announced or potential candidate to succeed him who has called is Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, a Democrat who’s considering a run but hasn’t yet announced.
Laxalt’s primary opponent at this point is State Treasurer Dan Schwartz. Giunchigliani’s primary opponent would be fellow Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak if he gets into the race.