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Nevada Margin Tax for Public Schools Initiative, Question 3 (2014)

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Margins Tax Initiative
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Type:indirect initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizen initiative
Status:On the ballot
The Nevada Margins Tax Initiative is on the 2014 ballot in the state of Nevada as an indirect initiated state statute. The measure seeks to implement a 2 percent margins tax on businesses in the state for education. The measure was introduced by the state AFL-CIO, lead by Executive Secretary Treasurer Danny Thompson.[1]


Republicans in the state senate have proposed a counter tax that would also raise money for education. The legislator's proposal, Senate Resolution 15, would raise the gross revenue tax paid by mining companies to the six and three-quarters percent currently paid by gaming companies. Supporters of the proposal say that it will yield around $780 million for education. The margins tax proposed by the Nevada State Education Association is estimated to generate roughly $800 million annually.[2]

The Arizona State Constitution provides for the legislature to place competing measures on the ballot and states that whichever one has the highest number of votes will become law. It was not clear at the time, however, whether or not the state legislature must explicitly reject an initiative before it can legally send a competing measure to the ballot.

Lawyers representing the Nevada State Education Association argued that since the legislature did not formally reject the initiative, they have lost the option to introduce an alternative. Opponents of the initiative contend that not acting on the matter is the same as rejecting it. Rick Combs, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said, "We don’t believe it’s an issue that has been decided before. There are arguments for both sides."[3]

An opinion released by the Nevada secretary of state revealed that the state legislature forfeited the option of proposing a competing measure when they failed to explicitly reject the margins tax measure.[4] Legislative council to the legislature disagrees however, and the state senate has continued with its plans to send the proposal to the ballot. The resolution cleared the senate in early April, but, as of writing, is stalled in the assembly.[5]


The measure is sponsored by the Nevada State Education Association.

Path to the ballot

According to reports, supporters of the measure were required to obtain 72,324 registered voters' signatures by November 2012 in order to be considered by the Nevada State Legislature during the 2013 state legislative session.

The newest version of the measure was filed with the Nevada secretary of state's office on August 7, 2012.[6]

It was reported that supporters sent the measure to the legislature with 150,000 signatures. A hearing was held in the state senate on March 5, 2013, but no action was made to approve or reject the measure.[7][8]

Since the legislature took no action by the deadline on March 15, 2013, the measure was automatically referred to the 2014 ballot.[9]

See also

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