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Douglas considers state business tax

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County leaders may take a stance Thursday on a 4 percent business tax that is being sought by the Nevada State Education Association.

The Education Association, which represents teachers and has about 500 members in Douglas County, is circulating petitions statewide asking for a 4 percent business income tax to bolster education coffers.

In a memo, County Manager Dan Holler recommended the Douglas County commission either take a neutral stance or oppose the measure.

Materials supplied to the county commission include newsletters from the Nevada Manufacturers Association and the Nevada Taxpayers Association, both of which strongly oppose the plan.

“In our unbiased view, this petition to tax your business profits is about ‘union extortion, not quality K-12 education,” says the Manufacturers Association newsletter. “It should die, as should all extortion plots.”

The Taxpayers Association objects to earmarking tax revenue for a specific use and says the proposal could hurt other state agencies and programs.

Locally, the Business Council of Douglas County is calling the petition “bad government and bad tax policy.”

Claudia Salas, director of communications and special projects for the Education Association, said the group plans to send a representative to Thursday’s discussion. She said the petition drive is going well, but didn’t know how many signatures have been collected.

“We do know our members are responding with enthusiasm,” she said. “We are making great progress throughout the state, and we are confident that we will reach our goal.”

To send the proposal to the 2001 state Legislature, which could approve it, the group has to get signatures from at least 10 percent of voters in 13 of Nevada’s 17 counties.

The proposal could go to voters if the Legislature rejects it. If the Legislature changes the petition, both versions could go to voters.

The county commission meets at 1 p.m. in the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden. The tax initiative discussion is No. 45 on a 47-item agenda.