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Yet Another Tax Hike Flim-Flam

“A bill (SB 201) Washoe County officials are depending on to fund critical road projects this summer is stuck in the state Senate, being held by Democratic leaders as possible leverage over Northern Nevada Republicans in final budget negotiations,” reports Anjeanette Damon of the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Although it has held two extensive hearings on Senate Bill 201, which would allow the county commission to enact a voter-approved motor fuel tax increase, the Senate Taxation Committee has failed to vote it out to the Senate floor.”

Oh, crap. Here we go again.

First, this is just stupid on the Democrats’ part. They don’t need to hold any bills “hostage” to get Republicans to vote for the upcoming monster tax hike. As we’ve seen time and time again, Republicans will sell their tax hike votes for a bag of magic beans.

Secondly, the voters didn’t ask for this effort to increase taxes. It was a question put on the ballot by politicians at the behest of special interests. There was NO citizen signature-gathering involved whatsoever.

But most importantly, these elected officials – aided and abetted by the media – are falsely reporting that the voters approved the “motor fuel tax increase” last November. In fact, just like the room tax increase, they did no such thing.

The “motor fuel tax increase” question on the ballot in Washoe County last November was a polling question only. Here’s the exact wording of RTC #5:

“Shall the Washoe County Board of Commissioners seek state legislation for the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to obtain necessary additional funding for transportation projects that will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and repair and maintain roads in the Truckee Meadows?”

I mean, why didn’t they also ask if voters wanted world peace? Or free ice cream? But notice how the words “motor fuel tax increase” NEVER APPEARED in the question!

The question was worded in such a way as to lead voters to believe the county commissioners were just going to ask the Legislature to give the RTC more money. In no way, shape, form or fashion does this question indicate that what the commissioners were actually asking for was permission to jack up the gas tax.

Now let’s go through this again SLOWLY so that even Gov. Gibbons can understand it…..since he signed and has subsequently broken his Taxpayer Protection Pledge on a similar bill already this session.

The press and numerous politicians are claiming that the voters approved a “motor fuel tax increase” last November by approving a polling question which reads as follows:

“Shall the Washoe County Board of Commissioners seek state legislation for the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to obtain necessary additional funding for transportation projects that will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and repair and maintain roads in the Truckee Meadows?”

The voters did NOT, no matter how you slice or twist it, approve of the “motor fuel tax increase” being proposed in SB 201. But don’t take my word for it. Prove it to yourself. Read the exact language of RTC #5 again (above)……and now read the actual bill language being considered in the state Senate and tell me the voters voted for this monstrosity:

Sec. 3. 1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, in a
7 county whose population is 100,000 or more but less than 400,000
8 and in which a regional transportation commission has been
9 created and a tax is imposed pursuant to NRS 373.030:
10 (a) The board may by ordinance impose:
11 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel,
12 except aviation fuel, sold in the county in an amount equal to the
13 product obtained by multiplying 4.2248 cents per gallon by the
14 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
15 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
16 ordinance becomes effective; and
17 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
18 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
19 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
20 determined by adding 4.2248 cents per gallon to the amount of the
21 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
22 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
23 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
24 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
25 (b) The board may by ordinance impose:
26 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel,
27 except aviation fuel, sold in the county in an amount equal to the
28 product obtained by multiplying 2.0538 cents per gallon by the
29 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
30 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
31 ordinance becomes effective; and
32 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
33 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
34 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
35 determined by adding 2.0538 cents per gallon to the amount of the
36 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
37 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
38 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
39 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
40 (c) The board may by ordinance impose:
41 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel,
42 except aviation fuel, sold in the county in an amount equal to the
43 product obtained by multiplying 1.1736 cents per gallon by the
44 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
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1 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
2 ordinance becomes effective; and
3 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
4 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
5 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
6 determined by adding 1.1736 cents per gallon to the amount of the
7 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
8 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
9 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
10 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
11 (d) The board may by ordinance impose:
12 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel,
13 except aviation fuel, sold in the county in an amount equal to the
14 product obtained by multiplying 10.5621 cents per gallon by the
15 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
16 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
17 ordinance becomes effective; and
18 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
19 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
20 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
21 determined by adding 10.5621 cents per gallon to the amount of
22 the tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
23 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
24 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
25 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
26 (e) The board may by ordinance impose:
27 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel,
28 except aviation fuel, sold in the county in an amount equal to the
29 product obtained by multiplying 18.455 cents per gallon by the
30 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
31 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
32 ordinance becomes effective; and
33 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
34 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
35 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
36 determined by adding 18.455 cents per gallon to the amount of the
37 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
38 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
39 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
40 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
41 (f) The board may by ordinance impose:
42 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel,
43 except aviation fuel, sold in the county in an amount equal to the
44 product obtained by multiplying 18.4 cents per gallon by the lesser
45 of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
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1 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
2 ordinance becomes effective; and
3 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
4 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
5 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
6 determined by adding 18.4 cents per gallon to the amount of the
7 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
8 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
9 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
10 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
11 (g) The board may by ordinance impose:
12 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel that consists
13 of an emulsion of water-phased hydrocarbon fuel sold in the
14 county in an amount equal to the product obtained by multiplying
15 19 cents per gallon by the lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted
16 average street and highway construction inflation index for the
17 fiscal year in which the ordinance becomes effective; and
18 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
19 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
20 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
21 determined by adding 19 cents per gallon to the amount of the tax
22 imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding fiscal
23 year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent or the
24 adjusted average street and highway construction inflation index
25 for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
26 (h) The board may by ordinance impose:
27 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel that consists
28 of liquefied petroleum gas sold in the county in an amount equal
29 to the product obtained by multiplying 22 cents per gallon by the
30 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
31 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
32 ordinance becomes effective; and
33 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
34 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
35 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
36 determined by adding 22 cents per gallon to the amount of the tax
37 imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding fiscal
38 year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent or the
39 adjusted average street and highway construction inflation index
40 for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
41 (i) The board may by ordinance impose:
42 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel that consists
43 of compressed natural gas sold in the county in an amount equal
44 to the product obtained by multiplying 21 cents per gallon by the
45 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
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1 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
2 ordinance becomes effective; and
3 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
4 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
5 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
6 determined by adding 21 cents per gallon to the amount of the tax
7 imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding fiscal
8 year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent or the
9 adjusted average street and highway construction inflation index
10 for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
11 (j) The board may by ordinance impose:
12 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel sold in the
13 county, other than any special fuel described in paragraph (g), (h)
14 or (i), in an amount equal to the product obtained by multiplying
15 27.75 cents per gallon by the lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted
16 average street and highway construction inflation index for the
17 fiscal year in which the ordinance becomes effective; and
18 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
19 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
20 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
21 determined by adding 27.75 cents per gallon to the amount of the
22 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
23 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
24 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
25 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
26 (k) The board may by ordinance impose:
27 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel that consists
28 of liquefied petroleum gas sold in the county in an amount equal
29 to the product obtained by multiplying 18.3 cents per gallon by the
30 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
31 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
32 ordinance becomes effective; and
33 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
34 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
35 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
36 determined by adding 18.3 cents per gallon to the amount of the
37 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
38 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
39 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
40 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
41 (l) The board may by ordinance impose:
42 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel that consists
43 of compressed natural gas sold in the county in an amount equal
44 to the product obtained by multiplying 18.3 cents per gallon by the
45 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
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1 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
2 ordinance becomes effective; and
3 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
4 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
5 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
6 determined by adding 18.3 cents per gallon to the amount of the
7 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
8 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
9 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
10 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
11 (m) The board may by ordinance impose:
12 (1) An excise tax on each gallon of special fuel sold in the
13 county, other than any special fuel described in paragraph (k) or
14 (l), which is taxed by the Federal Government at a rate per gallon
15 or gallon equivalent of 24.4 cents or more, in an amount equal to
16 the product obtained by multiplying 24.4 cents per gallon by the
17 lesser of 7.8 percent or the adjusted average street and highway
18 construction inflation index for the fiscal year in which the
19 ordinance becomes effective; and
20 (2) An annual increase in the tax imposed pursuant to this
21 paragraph, on the first day of each fiscal year following the fiscal
22 year in which that tax becomes effective, in the amount
23 determined by adding 24.4 cents per gallon to the amount of the
24 tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph during the preceding
25 fiscal year, then multiplying that sum by the lesser of 7.8 percent
26 or the adjusted average street and highway construction inflation
27 index for the fiscal year in which the increase becomes effective.
28 2. A board may not adopt an ordinance authorized by this
29 section unless a question concerning the imposition of the tax
30 pursuant to this section is first approved by a majority of the
31 registered voters of the county voting upon the question, which the
32 board may submit to the voters at any general election. The
33 Committee on Local Government Finance shall annually provide
34 to each city clerk, county clerk and district attorney in this State
35 forms for submitting a question to the registered voters of a county
36 pursuant to this subsection. Any question submitted to the
37 registered voters of a county pursuant to this subsection must be in
38 the form most recently provided by the Committee on Local
39 Government Finance.
40 3. Any ordinance authorized by this section may be adopted
41 in combination with any other ordinance authorized by this
42 section, and a single ordinance may be adopted pursuant to this
43 section which imposes all or any combination of the taxes
44 authorized by this section. Upon the adoption of an ordinance
45 authorized by this section, no further action by the board is
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1 necessary to effectuate the annual increases in each tax imposed
2 by the ordinance.
3 4. Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section:
4 (a) Must become effective on:
5 (1) The first day of the first calendar quarter beginning not
6 less than 90 days after the adoption of the ordinance; or
7 (2) January 1, 2010,
8  whichever occurs later; and
9 (b) Is not affected by any changes in the population of the
10 county which occur after the adoption of the ordinance.
11 5. For the purposes of this section:
12 (a) “Adjusted average street and highway construction
13 inflation index” means:
14 (1) For the fiscal year in which an ordinance adopted
15 pursuant to this section becomes effective, the percentage obtained
16 by adding the average street and highway construction inflation
17 index for that fiscal year to:
18 (I) If the average street and highway construction
19 inflation index for the preceding fiscal year is greater than 7.8
20 percent, the remainder obtained by subtracting 7.8 percent from
21 the average street and highway construction inflation index for
22 the preceding fiscal year; or
23 (II) If the average street and highway construction
24 inflation index for the preceding fiscal year is less than or equal to
25 7.8 percent, zero; and
26 (2) For each fiscal year following the fiscal year in which
27 the ordinance becomes effective, the percentage obtained by
28 adding the average street and highway construction inflation
29 index for that fiscal year to:
30 (I) If the adjusted average street and highway
31 construction inflation index for the preceding fiscal year is greater
32 than 7.8 percent, the remainder obtained by subtracting 7.8
33 percent from the adjusted average street and highway construction
34 inflation index for the preceding fiscal year; or
35 (II) If the adjusted average street and highway
36 construction inflation index for the preceding fiscal year is less
37 than or equal to 7.8 percent, zero.
38 (b) “Average street and highway construction inflation index”
39 for a fiscal year means the average percentage increase in the
40 street and highway construction inflation index for the 10
41 calendar years preceding the beginning of that fiscal year.
42 (c) “Special fuel” has the meaning ascribed to it in
43 NRS 366.060.
44 (d) “Street and highway construction inflation index” means
45 the Producer Price Index for Highway and Street Construction or,
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1 if that index ceases to be published by the United States
2 Department of Labor, the published index that most closely
3 measures inflation in the costs of street and highway construction,
4 as determined by the commission.
5 Sec. 4. 1. Any ordinance that imposes a tax pursuant to:
6 (a) The provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of section
7 3 of this act must require the allocation, disbursement and use in
8 the county of the proceeds of that tax in the same proportions and
9 manner as the allocation, disbursement and use in the county of
10 the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant to NRS 365.180.
11 (b) The provisions of paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of section
12 3 of this act must require the allocation, disbursement and use in
13 the county of the proceeds of that tax in the same proportions and
14 manner as the allocation, disbursement and use in the county of
15 the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant to NRS 365.190.
16 (c) The provisions of paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of section 3
17 of this act must require the allocation, disbursement and use in the
18 county of the proceeds of that tax in the same proportions and
19 manner as the allocation, disbursement and use in the county of
20 the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant to NRS 365.192.
21 (d) Any of the provisions of paragraphs (d) to (m), inclusive, of
22 subsection 1 of section 3 of this act must, except as otherwise
23 required by subsection 6 of NRS 373.140, require the allocation,
24 disbursement and use in the county of the proceeds of that tax in
25 the same proportions and manner as the allocation, disbursement
26 and use in the county of the proceeds of the tax imposed pursuant
27 to paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 373.030.
28 2. Any ordinance adopted pursuant to section 3 of this act
29 must:
30 (a) Include a provision prohibiting the imposition of any
31 penalties and interest for the failure to make any payments of any
32 tax imposed by the ordinance which become due within the initial
33 6 months after the ordinance becomes effective. This provision
34 must apply only to taxes imposed pursuant to section 3 of this act
35 and must not apply to any tax imposed pursuant to any other
36 ordinance.
37 (b) Require the commission:
38 (1) To review, at a public meeting conducted after the
39 provision of public notice and before the effective date of each
40 annual increase imposed by the ordinance:
41 (I) The amount of that increase and the accuracy of its
42 calculation;
43 (II) The amounts of any annual increases imposed by
44 the ordinance in previous years and the revenue collected
45 pursuant to those increases;
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1 (III) Any improvements to the regional system of
2 transportation resulting from revenue collected pursuant to any
3 annual increases imposed by the ordinance in previous years; and
4 (IV) Any other information relevant to the effect of the
5 annual increases on the public; and
6 (2) To submit to the board any information the commission
7 receives suggesting that the annual increase should be adjusted.
8 Sec. 5. 1. Any tax imposed pursuant to the provisions of:
9 (a) Paragraphs (a) to (f), inclusive, of subsection 1 of section 3
10 of this act does not apply to any fuel described in NRS 365.220 or
11 365.230.
12 (b) Paragraphs (g) to (m), inclusive, of subsection 1 of section
13 3 of this act does not apply to any sales or uses described in NRS
14 366.200, except to any sales or uses described in subsection 1 of
15 that section of any special fuel to which dye has not been added
16 pursuant to federal law or the law of this State, of a type which is
17 lawfully sold in this State both:
18 (1) As special fuel to which dye has been added pursuant to
19 such law; and
20 (2) As special fuel to which dye has not been added
21 pursuant to such law.
22 2. Each tax imposed pursuant to section 3 of this act is in
23 addition to any other motor vehicle fuel taxes and special fuel
24 taxes imposed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and
25 chapters 365, 366 and 590 of NRS, except that on the effective
26 date of an ordinance adopted pursuant to:
27 (a) Paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of section 3 of this act, any
28 tax increase imposed in that county pursuant to subparagraph (2)
29 of paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of NRS 373.065 on the first day
30 of the current fiscal year, and the authority to impose any
31 additional tax increases in that county pursuant to that
32 subparagraph on the first day of each subsequent fiscal year,
33 expire by limitation.
34 (b) Paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of section 3 of this act, any
35 tax increase imposed in that county pursuant to subparagraph (2)
36 of paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 373.065 on the first day
37 of the current fiscal year, and the authority to impose any
38 additional tax increases in that county pursuant to that
39 subparagraph on the first day of each subsequent fiscal year,
40 expire by limitation.
41 (c) Paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of section 3 of this act, any
42 tax increase imposed in that county pursuant to subparagraph (2)
43 of paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 373.065 on the first day of
44 the current fiscal year, and the authority to impose any additional
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1 tax increases in that county pursuant to that subparagraph on the
2 first day of each subsequent fiscal year, expire by limitation.
3 (d) Paragraph (d) of subsection 1 of section 3 of this act, any
4 tax increase imposed in that county pursuant to subparagraph (2)
5 of paragraph (d) of subsection 1 of NRS 373.065 on the first day
6 of the current fiscal year, and the authority to impose any
7 additional tax increases in that county pursuant to that
8 subparagraph on the first day of each subsequent fiscal year,
9 expire by limitation.

Case….closed. The voters NEVER voted for this “motor fuel tax increase.” Period. Every Tax Pledge signer in the Legislature should vote against this bill and Gov. Gibbons, should the bill make it to his desk, should veto it.

UPDATE (April 26, 2009): I was just informed that the the Dunbar Report online poll on KRNV-TV in Reno on April 16th was on RTC-5 now that the details of the actual bill are known, especially the fact that it includes a “motor fuel tax increase.” The results were: Yes 35.3% and NO 64.7%.