(Lisa Krasner) – Abraham Lincoln said, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish.”
What frustrates so many citizens about the debate over AB46, spearheaded by Assemblyman Randy Kirner, is that the Bill is an example of how some members of our Legislature simply are not listening to the people.
The 2007 Legislature approved a ballot initiative for the 2008 general election to raise capital improvement funds for our public schools. It was defeated by the voters. The people spoke, but Kirner was not listening.
In his One View column, Kirner explains that sending the bill to the Washoe County Commissioners was a decision that “values and trusts the wisdom of the voter” [Reno Gazette-Journal: “School tax belongs in local hands,” Sept. 11 Voices].
That is false. If Kirner truly valued the voice of the voters he would have voted to send the tax question directly to the voters for approval.
The Nevada Constitution provides two ways in which to raise taxes: Either the Legislature approves by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses, or the voters approve a ballot measure. Neither of these were done in this instance.
Delegation of the Legislature’s duty to make the law, to a five-member commission is an end run around the Nevada Constitution. It is “passing the buck”. It is disrespecting the wisdom of the voters.
In addition, AB46 would override two taxpayer protections: (1) The statutory property tax cap of $3.64 per $100 of assessed valuation , and (2) the 3 percent limitation on the maximum annual tax increase on personal residences.
Kirner continues explaining why it is OK that he violated the Nevada Constitution.
But Ronald Reagan said,” If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”
The Independent Report of the Washoe County School District listed numerous instances of mismanagement of funds. Before increasing the sales tax on the people, increasing the property tax on homeowners, and increasing the tax on our small business owners, it should be demonstrated that they have spent existing revenues wisely and efficiently.
I think we all want to improve our public school education system for our children. They deserve it; they are the future of this state and this country.
But AB46 is not the way to do it.
(Lisa Krasner is a Republican candidate for Assembly District 26. This column was originally published by the Reno Gazette-Journal on September 19, 2013.)