Nevada Support Our Schools Initiative (2008)

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The Support Our Schools Initiative would increase the hotel room tax in the Reno and Las Vegas areas by up to 3%, to a maximum rate of 13%, using the new revenue for public schools.

This measure is a indirectly-initiated state statute.

Background

The cooperative effort was launched as part of a Nevada deal between the teachers' association and major casinos, which resulted in teachers dropping their earlier initiative to get money for education through a 44% increase in casino taxes.

Under the proposal, proceeds from the room tax hike would at first help make up for budget cuts that have been required because of a worsening state revenue shortfall. Later, the proceeds could be used to supplement regular K-12 funding approved by state lawmakers.[1]

Supporters

The proposal was filed by the Committee for the Advancement of Education in Nevada, which is made up of the Nevada State Education Association, Wynn Resorts, Harrah's Entertainment, and Station Casinos.[1]

Lynn Warne, president of the teachers' association, said advisory questions proposing the same will be on the November ballot in Washoe and Clark counties. Warne said the joint effort "will ensure that the voices of citizens throughout the state are heard in regard to this important issue."[1]

Harrah's Entertainment executive Jan Jones said it's important for voters in the two counties to sign the room tax petition and to vote on the advisory ballot questions on the Nov. 4 ballot.[1]

Wynn Resorts chief Steve Wynn, who founded CAEN, added that Nevadans "all have a responsibility to our state's children to provide them with the best education possible."[1]

Warne said the room tax plan would raise as much as $180 million a year based on current hotel room totals in the Las Vegas and Reno areas, and the amount would increase as more rooms are built.[1]

Opponents

The teacher's original proposal (the Save Our Schools Initiative) was opposed by the Nevada Resort Association and executives of some large casinos, including MGM Mirage Chief Executive Terry Lanni. It is not yet clear whether or not they will oppose this measure.

Poll

A Las Vegas Review-Journal poll of 400 likely Nevada voters conducted Aug. 13 to 15 showed that 60% of respondents support the Support Our Schools proposal. The poll showed 31% opposed and 9% undecided. The margin for error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.[2]

Status

This measure was filed July 31, 2008, with the Secretary of State. Supporters must now collect at least 58,628 signatures by Nov. 11, 2008, in order to send the proposal to the 2009 Legislature. Once presented to lawmakers, they have 40 days to approve the measure or the plan goes to a public vote in 2010.[3]

See also

External links

References