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Rat-Head Republicans At it Again

A vote on raising taxes is expected to come before the Nevada Legislature next week, and some go-along-to-get-along rubber-stamp Republicans are spinning like Tasmanian devils trying to find an excuse, any excuse, to vote FOR it rather than legitimate fiscally conservative public policy and political reasons to vote AGAINST it.

The tax bill in question is IP-1, an effort by the teachers union and three misguided gaming companies to raise the room tax to pay for higher salaries for teachers regardless of performance. It’s a bad bill at a bad economic time. And yet some Republicans in the Legislature from Clark and Washoe counties are already trying to justify a “yes” vote for this massive tax hike in the middle of a recession by saying their constituents voted for it last November.

I guess if their constituents voted to bring back slavery, these Republicans would be all for that, too?

Regardless, the constituents of these squish Republicans did NOT vote for the proposed tax bill coming before legislators next week. Not even close. And any Republican state legislator who says they did isn’t being honest. Here, I’ll prove it…

The following is the EXACT LANGUAGE of the ballot advisory only question which was put before the voters of Clark and Washoe counties last November:

“This question is advisory only: Do you support the imposition of an additional hotel and motel room tax of not more than 3 percent to be used in the first 2 years after imposition to avoid large cuts in the funding of education and other state programs and to be used thereafter to increase the funding of K-12 Education, specifically to improve student achievement and for salaries of non-administrative educational personnel?”

OK, now here’s the EXACT LANGUAGE of the bill on this issue which legislators will be voting on in the next week or so…

Sec 3. 1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, in any county whose population is 300,000 or more, the board of county commissioners shall impose a tax at the rate of 3 percent of the gross receipts from the rental of transient lodging in that county. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, the tax must be imposed throughout the county, including its incorporated cities, upon all persons in the business of providing lodging. The ordinance imposing the tax must include a schedule for the payment of the tax and the provisions of subsection 4.

2. If the sum of the rates of all other taxes existing on July 31, 2008, and imposed by the State of Nevada or any unit of local government on the gross receipts from the rental of transient lodging in any area of the county exceeds 10 percent, the tax imposed pursuant to this section in that area must be imposed at a rate equal to the difference between 13 percent and the sum of the rates of the existing taxes. If the sum of the rates of the existing taxes in any area of the county is equal to or greater than 13 percent, no additional tax may be imposed in that area pursuant to this section. For the purposes of this section, the sum of the rates of any existing taxes must be determined as of July 31, 2008, and any increase in the rate of an existing tax after that date does not reduce the rate of the tax imposed pursuant to this section.

3. The tax imposed pursuant to this section must be collected with and in the same manner as any other tax imposed by the county on the gross receipts from the rental of transient lodging. The tax may be shown as an addition to the charge for the rental of transient lodging. The person providing the transient lodging is liable to the county for the tax whether or not it is actually collected from a paying guest.

4. If the tax imposed pursuant to this section is not paid within the time set forth in the schedule for payment, the county shall charge and collect in addition to the tax: (a) A penalty of not more than 10 percent of the amount due, exclusive of interest, or an administrative fee established by the board of county commissioners, whichever is greater; and (b) Interest on the amount due at the rate of not more than 1.5 percent per month or fraction thereof from the date on which the tax became due until the date of payment.

Sec. 4. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant to section 3 of this measure and any applicable penalty or interest must be paid by the county treasurer to the State Treasurer for credit to the State General Fund. The county treasurer may retain from the proceeds an amount sufficient to reimburse the county for the actual cost of collecting and administering the tax, to the extent that the county incurs any cost it would not have incurred but for the enactment of this section or section 3 of this measure, but in no case exceeding the amount authorized by statute for this purpose.

Sec. 5. NRS 244.3359 is hereby amended to read as follows: 244.3359

1. A county whose population is 400,000 or more shall not impose a new tax on the rental of transient lodging or increase the rate of an existing tax on the rental of transient lodging after March 25, 1991, except pursuant to NRS 244.3351 [and 244.3352.] , 244.3352 and section 3 of this measure.

2. A county whose population is 100,000 or more but less than 400,000 shall not impose a new tax on the rental of transient lodging or increase the rate of an existing tax on the rental of transient lodging after March 25, 1991 [.] , except pursuant to section 3 of this measure.

3. [The] Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2 and sections 4 and 6 of this measure, the Legislature hereby declares that the limitation imposed by subsection 2 will not be repealed or amended except to allow the imposition of an increase in such a tax for the promotion of tourism or for the construction or operation of tourism facilities by a convention and visitors authority.

Sec. 6. Chapter 387 of NRS is hereby amended by adding thereto a new section to read as follows:

1. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant to section 3 of this measure and any applicable penalty or interest must be paid by the county treasurer to the State Treasurer for credit to the State Supplemental School Support Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury as a special revenue fund. The county treasurer may retain from the proceeds an amount sufficient to reimburse the county for the actual cost of collecting and administering the tax, to the extent that the county incurs any cost it would not have incurred but for the enactment of this section or section 3 of this measure, but in no case exceeding the amount authorized by statute for this purpose. Any interest or other income earned on the money in the State Supplemental School Support Fund must be credited to the Fund.

2. The money in the State Supplemental School Support Fund is hereby appropriated for the operation of the school districts and charter schools of the state, as provided in this section. The money so appropriated is intended to supplement and not replace any other money appropriated, approved or authorized for expenditure to fund the operation of the public schools for kindergarten through grade 12. Any money that remains in the State Supplemental School Support Fund at the end of the fiscal year does not revert to the State General Fund, and the balance in the State Supplemental School Support Fund must be carried forward to the next fiscal year.

3. On or before February 1, May 1, August 1 and November 1 of each year, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall transfer from the State Supplemental School Support Fund all the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant to section 3 of this measure, including any interest or other income earned thereon, and distribute the proceeds proportionally among the school districts and charter schools of the state. The proportionate amount of money distributed to each school district or charter school must be determined by dividing the number of students enrolled in the school district or charter school by the number of students enrolled in all the school districts and charter schools of the state. For the purposes of this subsection, the enrollment in each school district and the number of students who reside in the district and are enrolled in a charter school must be determined as of the last day of the first school month of the school district for the school year. This determination governs the distribution of money pursuant to this subsection until the next annual determination of enrollment is made. The Superintendent may retain from the proceeds of the tax an amount sufficient to reimburse the Superintendent for the actual cost of administering the provisions of this section, to the extent that the Superintendent incurs any cost he would not have incurred but for the enactment of this section, but in no case exceeding the amount authorized by statute for this purpose.

4. The money received by a school district or charter school from the State Supplemental School Support Fund pursuant to this section must be used to improve the achievement of students and for the payment of salaries to attract and retain qualified teachers and other employees, except administrative employees, of the school district or charter school. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to impair or restrict the right of employees of the school district or charter school to engage in collective bargaining as provided by Chapter 288 of NRS.

5. On or before November 10 of each year, the board of trustees of each school district and the governing body of each charter school shall prepare a report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in the form prescribed by the Superintendent. The report must provide an accounting of the expenditures by the school district or charter school of the money it received from the State Supplemental School Support Fund during the preceding fiscal year.

6. As used in this section, “administrative employee” means any person who holds a license as an administrator, issued by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and is employed in that capacity by a school district or charter school.

See what I mean? Apples and oranges, baby!

Any Republican state legislator who says his or her constituents voted for the language of IP-1 last November is full of flapdoodle. It’s pure butt-covering spin by namby-pamby Republicans who are already, in just the third week of this legislative session, rolling over on their backs hoping Democrat Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley will rub their little tummies.

And any Republican state legislator who tries to hide behind this BS “my voters voted for this tax hike” excuse ought to be censured by the Republican Party, tarred, feathered, run out of town on a rail and recalled immediately before they get a chance to vote on State Sen. Bob Coffin’s “Mother of All Tax Hikes” coming up in June.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

“Republicans that vote for tax increases are like rat heads in Coke bottles. They ruin the Republican brand for all members.”

– Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform