ELKO — The margin tax initiative would drastically affect businesses and not necessarily fund education, a coalition argued at a forum Thursday.

The event was hosted by the Elko Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“This is a margins tax, not an education initiative,” said Neal Levine with the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative.

Levine, along with other coalition members, rallied for support of its $7 million campaign against the margin tax initiative.

While funds from the tax would go into the Distributive School Account, Levine said, there is no guarantee written in the bill that the money would go toward education. Rather, it may be taken out of the fund to pay for other things, he said.

“The margin tax lacks any sort of accountability,” Levine said.

Furthermore, he argued that there would be huge effects on the economy and labor. It would affect roughly 14 percent of businesses in Nevada, but a large percentage of the workforce, Levine said.

“This hammers the trades, this hammers laborers,” he said. “This is a recovery killer.”

The margin tax initiative proposes a 2 percent tax on businesses that make more than $1 million in revenue. One of the main arguments against the tax is that it is not based on actual income after expenditures.

“You’re taxed on your margin. Profit has nothing to do with it,” Levine said.

Matt McCarty, Government Affairs Committee chairman and owner of the Marriott TownePlace Suites, said annual revenue of $1 million is equivalent to about $2,800 per day. For a $28 meal, that would take only 100 customers to reach that benchmark.

“What restaurant do you know of that doesn’t see at least 100 people a day?” McCarty asked.

Elko County Commissioner Jeff Williams, who commented at the meeting, said a million dollars in today’s world is a “very small business.”

The coalition made no attempt to tell the audience why people would vote for the measure. Williams asked the coalition where he could find opposing viewpoints, to better educate people.

“Frankly, it’s their job to get their message out — it’s our job to get our message out,” Levine replied.

Proponents for the margin tax include the Nevada State Education Association and PLAN.

Paul Enos, CEO for the Nevada Trucking Association, who also spoke out against the margin tax, conceded that the coalition should not make its argument based on funding for education.

“When it comes to funding education, that’s a debate the teachers have already won,” Enos said. “... We have to focus on what the margins tax is gonna do to the economy.”

Roger Cody of Elko argued that the coalition should address the topic of education funding, saying education did not need more money in Nevada. Cody compared students today to students of a few decades ago.

“Education was much superior then than today, when money is being thrown at these folks,” Cody said.

Dylan Shaver, Director of Public Affairs for the Nevada Mining Association, said that even if the margin tax added money to the DSA, there would be no effect locally.

“Adding money to the DSA isn’t going to do a thing out here,” Shaver said. “Just like when they increased funding to higher education, and Great Basin (College) still took a hit.”

The Nevada Mining Association is one of the sponsors for the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative.

According to a geographically-weighted poll the coalition cited in its presentation, the majority of Nevadans voted yes for the margin tax in most instances.

“We can beat it, but it is going to be really hard to defeat,” Levine said.

The margin tax initiative, which is being labeled as an education initiative by proponents, will be listed on the ballot in November.

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(3) comments

mandersen1
mandersen1

Every year there is a tax increase in the budget talks but I have one simple question that never gets answered that is what is the limit? For example a couple years ago for 3 month I keep track of every tax and every government fee I had to pay from January to April and guess what percentage of my income I paid to taxes and fees? 73.6%!!! Yes that right for those 3 month the government got ¾ of my pay. Now I will admit that if I had done it for the whole year it probably would have gone down but to what 50 or 60 percent. I understand we need to pay taxes and fees to the government but more than half my pay? Think about the economy if we had that money to spend? They always say its only 1% increases do that 100 times you take everything. So what is the % limit of what they will take from me or us?

mandersen1
mandersen1

If they want more money do not raise taxes help improve the economy!!! Look at what is happening to business you have environmental groups and the Federal Government trying to kick ranchers of their range, stop mining, stop gas and oil drilling, EPA shutting down power plants, making impossible to start business because rewritten reg without congress approval, turning water off to farmers, listing animals on the endangered specie act and shutting down whole section of the economy. So between over taxing and over regulations American continue to find way for private business to run the economy, but at what point does the scale tip and there is no way to stay in business? I don’t know but I am sure it is not far off!

DanielG
DanielG

Unfortunately cuts are unavoidable sometimes. We need to understand that the economy is pretty weak now. But what we can't understand is why US is happy to fund other countries when its kids suffer from shortages every single year. It is time authorities take care of children lack of writing skills (buy papers at EssayOnlineStore), bad math and absence of any science in schools. And we need funding for that. In any case, I hope they will find a solution

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