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October 31, 2014

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Assembly speaker calls for tax reform, stop to education cuts

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick presides over the assembly on the first day of the 2013 legislative session Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Carson City.

2013 Legislative Session - Day 1

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick's granddaughter Emma Krumme is held by her mother Tara Kirkpatrick on the first day of the 2013 legislative session Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Carson City. Launch slideshow »

CARSON CITY — In her opening speech, newly elected Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, called on lawmakers to set partisanship aside and address Nevada’s nagging problems through tax reform.

“The buck really stops with us,” Kirkpatrick said. “Let’s begin to make some real investments in our schools, reform our tax structure and rebuild our economy.”

Her speech echoed those given in recent past sessions by her Democratic predecessors, who fell short of crafting major tax reform despite opening day calls for more education funding.

In her speech to lawmakers Monday, Kirkpatrick said she wouldn’t be “afraid to shake things up” in order to achieve different results.

“Will we be a state that continues to apply nickle-size solutions to dollar-size problems or will we finally recognize that we just can’t balance our state on the backs of just a few industries?” Kirkpatrick said.

“For too long the answer to education has been to cut,” she added. “I am here today to say we can no longer cut. We can no longer ask our teachers, students and parents to do more with less, then ask them why are we getting the same results.”

Kirkpatrick has vowed to begin discussing Nevada’s tax structure on Day 2 of the 77th Legislative Session that begins today, but she has stopped short of backing any potential reform proposals.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has promised to veto any tax increases, believing businesses just beginning to recover from the recession can’t afford to pay more into state coffers.

Some sources, however, say lawmakers may work toward a “revenue neutral” reform that would not result in a tax increase this year but would broaden the tax base and ultimately result in additional revenue as the economy grows.

A meeting of the Senate and Assembly tax committees is planned for Tuesday to discuss how local tax revenue is allocated among city and county governments.

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  1. Unless the Legislature changes the way Unions bargain with the local governments and school districts, raising taxes won't help the schools. The Unions will just demand more pay and the Arbiter will side with them. The Legislature needs to make Teachers state employees.