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Try, Try Again: Nevada Government Unions Determined to Raise Taxes

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
When Nevada government unions created a self-serving petition drive to create a 2 percent margins tax on businesses across the state, the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs
filed suit. The group claimed the unions’ effort to put the tax on the November ballot was “deceptive,” and a judge agreed.

A court threw out the ballot proposal last week. But the unions are not giving up.

Union activists will be fanning out across the state at “grocery stores, post offices and other locations across the state in a move to collect the 72,234 signatures needed to force the Legislature to consider the tax during the February session,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Gary Peck of the Nevada State Education Association claims the business tax is necessary because the government education system is “woefully underfunded.” The union has not said what an “adequately funded” system looks like, and presumably, the $800 million the new tax would allegedly raise would be used for higher teacher salaries and more expensive benefits. And it probably still would not be enough.

Nevertheless, every bit counts, as roughly 80 percent of every general budget dollar spent in a typical public school goes to labor costs.

It’s interesting to note that no citizens group has risen up to fight in favor of this proposed tax increase. It’s a scheme created, promoted and funded by Big Labor. Union leaders are attempting to use their organizing muscle to create a new tax which will directly benefit their well-being.

The NSEA has a history of pulling out all the stops in its effort to grab more money. Its Clark County chapter (Las Vegas) went to court last year to collect a huge raise for veteran teachers, even though it cost hundreds of younger teachers their jobs and forced the school district to enlarge class sizes. In 2011, the union produced a
television ad with young children begging the governor for more education funding, including a little girl saying, “If big business paid just a little more ...”

I wonder if anyone in the media caught up with her on the street and asked her to define “big business,” what she would say. If the NSEA will use little kids to do its dirty work, it clearly will do just about anything to dig more dollars from the public coffers.

The fact is that most public schools would have enough revenue to survive the current economic downturn if they could only control labor costs. But the unions are not interested in concessions to help their districts survive. Their goal is always to maximize their take, even if that means forcing businesses to cough up even more money during a poor economic period.

That’s what people mean they call government unions “self-serving.”

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