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School board, Humke: Not too smart
by David Farside
Nov 18, 2013 | 2212 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, the Washoe County Commissioners voted against Assembly Bill 46 which would have increased both our sales and property tax to fund much needed school repairs. Good for them!

The State Legislature refused to do its job by either voting for or against the bill and passed the responsibility down to the county level. As I had mentioned months ago, not only did they abrogate their elected authority, they violated our state’s Constitutional provision that denies Home Rule to local government entities in the state such as: cities, counties and local school boards. Actually, local governments now have the opportunity to petition the state for Home Rule, since the precedent has already been established by the states elected officials.

Evidently, prior to the vote, the discussion became emotional. It was reported that Commissioner Kitty Jung was so emotional about the issue, she broke down and cried. And it really is a crying shame on the state legislators for passing the buck on to the County and the Public. It probably would not have happened that way if Sen. Bill Raggio was holding court in his caucus.

In his infinite wisdom, Commissioner David Humke said the bill has some flaws and “it seems to access the wrong revenue source at a time we are hopefully coming out of a recession.”  

Again, in his infinite wisdom, he didn’t offer any options or solutions to the school district’s need for $20 million for school repairs. Well why should he. Besides raising taxes, there is only one other logical source of revenue that could generate that kind of revenue, the right source of revenue, without raising taxes—a lottery. If Humke was smart, he’d organize support for the lottery. Without Sen. Raggio to protect the gamers from supposedly lost revenue because of the sale of lottery tickets, there might be a possibility for a statewide lottery in Nevada.

For the last decade, I have been arguing, lobbying and writing about the benefits of a lottery in Nevada. Years ago, I testified before Governor Kenny Guinn’s Advisory Committee on Taxation. The committee agreed and recommended a lottery as a source of revenue for the state. It sat on Guinn’s desk and died there.

I met with school board members and school superintendents pleading for support for the lottery. One board member said she was opposed to it because it provided a new gateway to gambling. The gamers would have loved to hear that.

When teachers organized and passed out petitions for a portion of the room tax, I recommended passing out petitions legalizing the lottery, but to no avail. They could have protected their jobs and funded our schools; but they didn’t.  

School boards are comprised of elected representatives from the public sector.                They are a political body. Yet, no board member in the state is willing to initiate a statewide petition for a lottery. Why? They would rather have the taxpayer foot the bill for their political yellow streak rather than finding a new and viable source of revenue for our children’s education. Maybe David Humke could show them how to do it—if he’s smart enough.    

David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.
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