Nevada AFL-CIO boss opposes teachers’ proposed casino tax | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada AFL-CIO boss opposes teachers’ proposed casino tax

SCOTT SONNER
Associated Press Writer

RENO ” The state leader of the AFL-CIO in Nevada said today that a proposal backed by the teachers’ union to raise taxes on casinos would make the state too dependent on a single industry.

The AFL-CIO, with 120 affiliated unions and more than 200,000 members in Nevada, has not yet taken a formal position on the tax hike proposed by the Nevada State Education Association but Danny Thompson said the coalition has opposed such ideas in the past.

Thompson said the state AFL-CIO is more likely to support a broad-based tax increase to help deal with a projected state budget shortfall and generate revenue to cut into a $4 billion highway construction backlog.

“You can’t rely on one industry for the solution. It has to be everybody,” Thompson, the group’s executive secretary-treasurer, said today on KRNV-TV’s “Nevada Newsmakers.”

The teachers’ initiative is aimed at boosting education on spending in a state that ranks at the bottom nationally in per-pupil spending, backers say.

The proposal would add another 3 percent tax on gambling revenues collected by casinos that gross more than $1 million a month. It would raise the taxes for such clubs to 9.75 percent, and generate at least $250 million a year.

“NSEA believes a 3 percent assessment for education on the largest casinos, which gross $1 million or more a month, is more than fair,” NSEA president Lynn Warne said in unveiling the proposal last month.

“Gaming taxes in Nevada are the lowest in the world,” she said.

The initiative ” “Save Our Schools with Additional Funding” ” would have to win voter approval in the 2008 and 2010 elections before it could take effect. The filing of the plan enables the group to start collecting at least 58,628 signatures needed by May 20 to get on the ballot.

Thompson said taxes on the hotel-casino industry already pay for about half the state budget.