Nevada governor joins casino union rally for taxes
April 10, 2003
Nevada casino workers on Wednesday presented Gov. Kenny Guinn with more than 56,000 signatures from people backing the governor’s proposed gross receipts tax on businesses.
“No new tax on our backs,” yelled about 200 red-shirted members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226.
“Who should pay? B of A!” they chanted in a reference to giant Bank of America, which would pay a 0.25 percent gross receipts tax under the centerpiece of the Republican governor’s $1 billion tax hike.
Guinn pumped his fist and clapped, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with top Democratic lawmakers at the morning rally on the Legislature’s steps.
Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins hoisted a box holding the petition on his shoulders and repeated a pledge that no tax bill would pass his house without a “broad-based tax on business.”
Workers cheered Perkins and other Democrats who showed up, including Assembly members Maggie Carlton, Peggy Pierce and Tom Collins and Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus. All are from southern Nevada.
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“Make it fair! Make them share!” chanted Marcelino DeJesus, 37, who brings sheets to hotel rooms at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
DeJesus said he and his colleagues are worried about a proposed sales tax on services.
“People are afraid. People are confused right now,” he said. “We just need to tell the legislators that the big businesses like Wal-Mart need to pay their fair share.”
Traffic slowed as workers marched through downtown Carson City from a union office holding oversized photos of their children and signs reading: “Make big corporations pay for our schools.”
“I love it! I love it!” exclaimed Carlton, a waitress and Culinary member. “I’ve waited four years for this,” she said of the rare union rally at the Legislature.
Fast-growing Local 226 represents 40,000 maids, bartenders, bellmen and food service workers in and around Las Vegas. Leaders pledged to flex their political muscle and vote out lawmakers who oppose a gross receipts tax.
“You need to hold the people in this building accountable and responsible,” Carlton said.