Poll: Nevadans unhappy with state education system

CARSON CITY — Nevadans are dissatisfied with the state’s public education system, with 40 percent giving the system a D or F grade and 18 percent rating it an A or B, according to a new poll of likely voters commissioned by the Retail Association of Nevada released today.

For the third time in a row, voters said education reform is more likely to improve Nevada’s public education system than increased education funding.

“The poll shows just how strongly Nevadans support improving education in Nevada,” RAN President Mary Lau said. “They just want to ensure that improving education is done correctly and without harming our fragile economic recovery and jobs.”

Forty-six percent of those surveyed by Moore Information for RAN said the tax on gross business revenue proposed by the Nevada State Education Association will generate needed revenue for public education, while 47 percent said the proposal will increase prices and unemployment and hurt business.

The teacher-backed revenue measure on the ballot would impose a 2 percent margins tax. Businesses could deduct some but not all of their expenditures before calculating the tax, and the first $1 million of their earnings would be exempt. Because it is not a business profits tax, some businesses that are losing money would be required to pay it.

The teachers’ association put the measure on the ballot to raise an estimated $800 million a year for public education and provide a dedicated, predictable source of revenue for public education.

The survey also noted that voters would prefer to see marijuana legalized to pay for education instead of the margins tax by 52 percent to 24 percent.

The poll of 500 likely voters conducted Sept. 27-29 also found that voters strongly favor amending the state constitution to pave the way for gay marriage, by a more than 20-point margin of 57 percent to 36 percent.

A proposed amendment to allow for gay marriage will go to the voters in 2016 if it is passed by the Legislature a second time in the 2015 legislative session. It passed once already in the 2013 session.

RAN and many other business groups oppose the margins tax measure.

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Retail Association conducts polls twice a year on topics of interest to Nevadans.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.

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