EDITORIAL: Margins tax setback

The AFL-CIO has learned from Big Labor’s Obamacare debacle: hugely complex initiatives that jack up taxes and grow government aren’t good for the economy, much less unions.

Still smarting from the costly burdens of the Affordable Care Act, which labor unions championed but now want dialed back, the Nevada AFL-CIO voted this month to oppose the 2 percent margins tax placed on November’s ballot by the state teachers union. The tax, dubbed The Education Initiative, will appear as Question 3. If approved by voters, it would give Nevada one of the most punitive business tax structures in the United States.

The AFL-CIO represents both public- and private-sector unions, and construction trades in particular would be crushed by the new levy.

“The vote today in opposition to the margins tax initiative is not a vote against education,” Executive Secretary Treasurer Danny Thompson said after a vote of delegates. “It is a vote against a flawed initiative that will cost many of our members their jobs and raise the cost of living on Nevadans on a fixed income and on citizens that are still struggling to make ends meet after years of a terrible recession.”

Far from a phased-in levy, the margins tax would wipe out the profits of thousands of companies and seize up to $750 million per year from businesses. How are they supposed to put Nevadans back to work if they can’t keep their doors open? Never mind the flawed argument that money alone will improve K-12 education in Nevada.

And so a union-backed initiative won’t have the backing of the state’s biggest union umbrella. That should tell voters everything they need to know about Question 3. It’s a loser — for everyone.

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