The teachers union tax initiative would create a state bureaucracy that would share personal between the state and the IRS.
If there’s one thing our state doesn’t need, it’s a state Internal Revenue Service. And Nevada businesses certainly don’t need more paperwork and additional taxes. But, if the teachers union has its way, business operating in Nevada will be burdened with a business tax of 4 percent, an increase in the business licensing fees of 20 percent, and the business activity tax will be raised by 2 percent.
The goal of the initiative proposed by the teachers union, formally known as the Nevada state Education Association (NSEA), is to improve the quality of education. The plan, according to the initiative, is “To require that money from the tax must be spent for programs that enhance student learning, provide quality teaching, promote parental involvement and increase student accountability.” What about accountability requirements for teachers? The NSEA’s language includes “additional funding to attract, retain and support teachers.” Even though teachers will clearly benefit from passage of the initiative, there are no provisions for requiring performance standards and accountability as any private sector employer could reasonably expect of an employee.
At the risk of being labeled “anti-teacher”, or even worse “anti-education’: what makes teachers more deserving of salary increases than your employees? In fact, why should they be given increased compensation when, by doing so, many Nevadans would become unemployed.
The initiative petition would allow special interests to dictate Nevada’s needs and restrict government flexibility. Our elected officials would have their hands tied and be unable to effectively allocate state revenues based on Nevada’s changing economic needs.
The initiative would also create a government slush fund for which the tax burden would continue to rise. In essence, the provision creates a consumer tax, because businesses that can’t afford the burden would pass along the additional costs to their customers.
“Business 101” teaches that, in order to survive, a company must make a profit. Business students also learn the ability to prosper is directly influenced by the economic climate in which the company is functioning. In an effort to diversify and expand, Nevada’s elected officials and community leaders have successfully fostered a pro-business climate in which entrepreneurs thrive.
However, our ability to maintain our well-known business-friendly environment is threatened by the initiative. Even before the initiative is acted upon, simply by virtue of its existence, smart businesses considering locating here are instead reconsidering.
The initiative has the potential of destroying economic diversification, hampering economic development, eliminating jobs, reducing employee benefits and creating a state IRS. All for the sake of education — regardless of the fact there is no proven relationship between educational quality and the amount spent on its funding.
Real education reform cannot take place if special interest groups, such as the NSEA, are successful in creating bureaucies for their sole benefit. There’s no doubt we need to improve our educational system, but the NSEA’s initiative petition is not the answer; in fact, it’s part of the problem.
The Coalition to Defeat the Business Income Tax represents our best hope for defeating the initiative. For information on how you can get involved, contact the Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce (775) 868-3043 or the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce at (702) 735-2460.