Vegas teachers file petition for casino tax hike initiative

Tuesday 14th January 2020

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas-area teachers want to ask Nevada voters to approve a state constitutional amendment to hike taxes on the largest casinos in the state to raise as much as $315 million a year.

An initiative and petition filed Monday with state election officials is sponsored by a new political action committee called Nevadans for Fair Gaming Taxes and backed by the Clark County Education Association.

The union represents about 19,000 teachers in the Clark County School District -- the nation's fifth-largest district, with about 320,000 students at more than 350 schools.

Union executive John Vellardita didn't immediately respond Tuesday to messages about the bid to add a fourth tier to state casino taxes, to collect 9.75 percent of monthly gross revenues more than $250,000.

Vellardita told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that teachers think gambling licensees wouldn't be hurt by contributing more to state revenues. The last increase in the state's gambling tax came in 2003 during a legislative standoff over school funding.

A second teachers-backed initiative that Vellardita told the Review-Journal could be filed this week could generate more than $1 billion annually for K-12 education. He declined to outline that proposal before its filing.

Currently, the three-tiered casino tax tops out at 6.75 percent on monthly revenue greater than $134,000, the Review-Journal reported.

Taxes would remain unchanged for smaller establishments that pay 3.5 percent on monthly gross revenue up to $50,000 or 4.5 percent on gross revenue between $50,000 and $134,000, the newspaper said.

It was not immediately clear how many signatures proponents will need to collect to qualify the measure for the ballot.

If approved in November, the state Legislature could enact it in the 2021 session or it would go before voters again in 2022. If approved a second time, it would take effect in 2023.

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