The reverberations of the $1.4 billion tax package that was implemented last year can still be heard in Pahrump.
Tina Trenner, Assembly District 36 candidate, held an event on Thursday where she talked about the impact of the $1.4 billion of new or extended taxes and their impact on businesses in Nevada.
Trenner once again criticized incumbent Assemblyman James Oscarson, who had voted for the measure that was proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
“I know that Nye County cannot afford new taxes, I know that would be burdensome on people. I will not raise taxes,” she said.
In October 2015, a group called “RIP Commerce Tax” that was spearheaded by Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht, filed a referendum petition with the Secretary of State to repeal a new commerce tax that was part of the package. Sandoval opposed the move.
The $1.4 billion tax package was passed by a two-thirds majority of the Nevada Legislature in 2015. The measure was supposed to fund the $7.4 billion budget that includes an increase in education spending. The commerce tax also puts a levy on businesses that gross $4 million or more annually.
Nevada State Assistant Controller Geoff Lawrence, the guest of the event, told the audience about the progress that the group had made statewide. Organizers have to get 55,000 signatures in four congressional districts to put the commerce tax on the ballot in November.
“We have been pretty successful so far, even though we really haven’t spent any money yet. We have to file all of the signatures by June 21 in order to qualify. We have been pretty fortunate up north in (Congressional District 2) to get nearly all of the signatures that we need just on volunteer basis,” he said.
The commerce tax would raise approximately $60 million a year.
This week, Lawrence said the group will wrap up the paid effort primarily in Las Vegas to get signatures.
“It’s going to be a huge effort. We think that we will be able to get all of the signatures we need in the next 30 to 40 days,” he said.
The petition to repeal the whole tax package that was spearheaded by conservative activist Chuck Muth was rejected in court by a Carson City judge last year.
Trenner will challenge Oscarson in the upcoming June 14 primary. She campaigns under the slogan “Because the Constitution Matters.” The Palm Springs, California native has made water, land and taxes pivotal points of her campaign. She also pledged to protect wild horses.
She called the implemented tax “a monster tax.”
“I know how vital small business is to our communities, to our state, to our country. It’s what America is. It’s the engine of America,” she said.
Assembly District 36 includes parts of Nye County, Lincoln County and Clark County.
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof, who had filed as a Libertarian for Assembly District 36, also attended the talk. Hof has a number of other businesses in the state, including gas stations and restaurants.
“It’s going to affect every one of you because as a small businessman, I have to pass things on to you,” he said about the tax. “It’s going to raise the prices and anybody that’s voting for this tax needs to be fired. Everybody.”
Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77