Las Vegas teachers’ union asks casinos to pay more taxes
By Bob Garcia
The union has gathered enough signatures on two petitions to force lawmakers to consider new taxes
The largest teacher’s union in Las Vegas, the Clark County Education Association (CCEA), wants local casinos to start spreading more of their wealth. They have circulated two petitions that would see lawmakers forced to weigh in on whether gambling taxes could be raised, but the timing of their petitions couldn’t possibly be any worse. All Vegas casinos are suffering because of COVID-19 and many now shut down for a couple of days during the week. As far as “spreading the wealth,” there may not be much to spread.
One petition would see Nevada’s sales and use tax jump from 2.5% to 4.1% and the revenue generated from the increase would go specifically to programs detailed in the Local School Support Tax framework in Nevada. The second petition seeks an increase on gross gaming revenue taxes from 6.75% to 9.75%, with that revenue earmarked for various education programs. However, the increase would only be applied if the casino earns over $250,000 in a given month.
Both petitions received considerable support from citizens when they were passed around. The minimum required number of signatures was just over 97,500, and each received more than 200,000. If all signatures are confirmed valid, the measures will be handed off to lawmakers, who will need to decide whether to approve the new tax structures. If they don’t do anything, or if they reject the initiatives, the measures would then appear on the ballot in 2022 for a wider vote.
Obviously, the petitions aren’t winning any friends in the gaming industry. According to the Nevada Resort Association, “As Nevada’s largest industry and economic engine continues to do all it can to recover and bring employees back to work, now is not the time to target the resort industry with a 44 percent tax increase that would further damage Nevada’s recovery efforts, create permanent job losses, and further jeopardize capital investment and future economic development.”