Las Vegas Teachers Union Calls for Higher Nevada Gaming Tax to Fund Education

Posted on: November 18, 2020, 11:11h. 

Last updated on: November 18, 2020, 12:05h.

The Clark County Education Association (CCEA) wants to raise the Nevada gaming tax in order to better fund K-12 education. The CCEA is the main teachers union in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas teacher union gaming tax
Las Vegas union members of the Clark County Education Association picket last year in Carson City for more state funding. (Image: Clark County Education Association)

The CCEA has successfully obtained the necessary signatures to submit to the state two petition initiatives. The initiatives seek to raise sales and gaming taxes. The CCEA submitted nearly 200,000 signatures from Nevada residents for each legislative petition, far more than the 97,598 required.

One initiative would amend the state’s sales and use tax from 2.6 percent to 4.1 percent. The 1.5 percent increase would generate funds directly allocated to the Local School Support Tax.

The other initiative would increase the tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR) from 6.75 percent to 9.75 percent. The higher tax would only apply to casinos generating at least $250,000 in monthly gaming win. The additional gaming tax would be allocated for education.

If at least 97,598 signatures are verified on each submitted petition, the Nevada Legislature would receive the motions for review. State lawmakers can pass, amend, or reject the submissions. If they don’t act on the petitions or reject them, they go to the voters in a 2022 ballot referendum.

Gaming Industry Opposition

The Nevada Resort Association (NRA) says the calls to increase the tax on gaming couldn’t come at a worse time. COVID-19 has devastated tourism and convention business, two economic pillars of the Silver State.

As Nevada’s largest industry and economic engine continues to do all it can to recover and bring employees back to work, now is not the time to target the resort industry with a 44 percent tax increase that would further damage Nevada’s recovery efforts, create permanent job losses, and further jeopardize capital investment and future economic development,” the NRA said in a statement to the Nevada Independent.

Nevada casinos reported a GGR of $2.3 billion in the third quarter. That’s down 23.5 percent, or $713 million.

The gaming industry employs more workers than any other business in the Silver State. Of Nevada’s 10 largest employers, seven are companies invested in the gaming industry. However, the Clark County School District clocks in at No. 8.

Top 10 Nevada Employers

  1. MGM Resorts
  2. Caesars Entertainment
  3. Las Vegas Sands
  4. Johnson Electric
  5. Wynn Resorts
  7. Boyd Gaming
  8. Clark County School District
  9. Wynn Resorts
  10. International Game Technology

Clark County School District is the fifth-largest school district in the United States.

Education Overhaul

The teacher union’s efforts to alter how K-12 education is funded comes after lawmakers created the Commission on School Funding last year. The state is considering a major overhaul to how lower education is funded for the first time since “The Nevada Plan” was passed in 1967.

The two petitions from the CCEA are the union’s way of inserting its voice into the legislative process. Four of the 11 Commission on School Funding members are chief financial officers of Nevada school districts.

“We want legislators and the business community to understand that all we want to do is have a conversation about how to rebuild this economy and invest in education,” said CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita.