Laxalt wants to repeal hundreds of millions in historic education funding, which Gov. Sandoval has said would disqualify Laxalt from earning his support.
Nevada ranks 49th in the nation for quality of pre-K-12th grade education, yet Laxalt wants to cut nearly $200 million from the education budget this year alone. Gov. Sandoval said Laxalt’s proposal to repeal the education investment would “irreversibly and permanently harm” Nevada’s students, public education system, and business environment.
When asked directly if he’d endorse Laxalt, Sandoval drew a red line on supporting a candidate who has pledged to undo the education investment, saying he would not “support a candidate who seeks to undo what we’ve done the past seven years.” Given that Sandoval said Laxalt’s plan would devastate Nevada, and that he couldn’t support a gubernatorial candidate who’d devastate the state, it begs the question of whether Laxalt will ever get Sandoval’s endorsement.
Laxalt claimed repealing the education investment wouldn’t hurt Nevada’s budget, which Sandoval adamantly disputed.
Laxalt reiterated his desire to repeal the Commerce Tax in February, saying he doesn’t think repealing it would “have any negative effect on our budget.” An analysis by the Legislative Counsel Bureau said repealing the education funding measure would cost Nevada over $161 million in FY19, and nearly $100 million every year in FY20 and beyond.
Sandoval ripped into Laxalt’s proposal to repeal the investment:
“Anyone supporting a repeal of the Commerce Tax must explain to Nevada’s children, families and businesses which education initiatives will be cut if it is eliminated. Will they cut gifted and talented programs, end all-day kindergarten, eliminate special education resources, decrease literacy programs that help students read by third grade, cut autism funding, stop career and technical education, and get rid of technology in schools grants? Any discussion of eliminating this revenue source must include answers about where in the budget they will cut.”
Laxalt has betrayed his total ignorance of the effect of the Commerce Tax on the budget multiple times. In February, Laxalt said it was “less than 1 percent.” In late March, at a campaign event in rural Fernley, NV, he claimed it’s only 0.8 percent of the state’s general fund budget, but it’s actually closer to five percent — Laxalt was off by about 600 percent. In early April, Laxalt said it made up 2.3 percent of the state’s overall budget, and then in an interview with KUNR, he asserted it was 2.3 percent of the state’s general fund budget.
Laxalt can’t even get his running mate to agree with him on repealing the Commerce Tax.
Speaking to Republican voters, lieutenant governor candidate Michael Roberson, whom Laxalt has endorsed, “eviscerated” Laxalt’s main talking points about repealing the Commerce Tax. Roberson pointed out that the investment is worth $175 million per year for Nevada’s schools, attracts businesses to Nevada and is needed to prepare Nevada’s students for 21st century jobs.
#AskLaxalt how he plans to fully fund education while cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from schools.
Jon Ralston of The Nevada Independent:“Laxalt’s contention that either economic growth or marijuana taxes, which bring in a small fraction of the aforementioned amount (projected to be around $50 million a year), along with amorphous ‘cutting’ can make up for the Commerce Tax money is laughable.”