Tax adjustment wasn’t ‘revenue neutral’

In response to your July 2 editorial noting that revenue from the live entertainment tax (LET) is on pace to come up 42 percent below projections for the current fiscal year:

When state Sen. Mark Lipparelli’s amended Senate Bill 266 was passed, all LET taxes on drinks, merchandise and food sold during entertainment were eliminated. In addition, the tax was reduced from 10 percent to 9 percent. Partly to offset this, large outdoor festival admissions are now taxed.

Apparently this effectively reduced the LET taxes paid by casinos by approximately 40 percent. Although the bill was pitched as necessary reform to a cumbersome tax, I don’t recall anyone in the Legislature stating that the casinos had just received a generous tax break or a discussion of how to make up for the shortfall. I think many of the legislators were told that this amendment was a “revenue-neutral replacement” and Sen. Lipparelli, a Las Vegas Republican, was quoted in reports last year saying that this was the case.

Sen. Lipparelli’s tenure as a former chairman of the Gaming Control Board probably enhanced his credibility in making this assertion, but I didn’t see much analysis as to the actual cost of the LET change. This is consistent with recent legislative history, given that almost every amendment to the gaming or LET tax meant to clarify or simplify an existing regulation has resulted in the casinos paying less in taxes.

If we’re going to lower taxes for casinos, it would be nice if this were plainly stated so someone could raise the question of what new taxes we are going to add to make up for the shortfall.

Richard Cummins


Teacher pay

I just read in the Wednesday Review-Journal that Clark County firemen got a raise and an extra 1½ days vacation (“Raises given to fire agency”). I’m happy for them. I wouldn’t begrudge them, as they perform a valued and sometimes dangerous job for the community. I was ever so glad to see them once when my house was on fire. Same with policemen when my house was robbed.

Employees with all Nevada state, county, city and political entities get paid vacation and holiday days and overtime pay. This is a good and just arrangement. But I don’t understand why it is OK to pay all these people, but not teachers, vacation days.

No, I don’t want to hear that teachers get all summer off. They don’t. Teachers are paid for an exact number of minutes of work each and every day for an exact number of days (presently 184). They are not paid for holidays nor for summer days off. They receive no comp time nor overtime. Their pay is parceled out to them in 24 even payments which is why people think teachers are paid for summertime. A portion of teacher raises also goes to pay for their health care.

Why is this inequality OK? Teachers educate all those firefighters, police officers, librarians, city, state and county workers and their children — as well as everybody’s children. Their work can be satisfying, but it is also stressful, demanding and vital.

Teachers would also like a paid holiday or two, let alone an extra day and a half.

Elizabeth Bash

Las Vegas

Unjust reward

Wednesday’s story about Henderson policeman Brett Seekatz being promoted to lieutenant is so shameful that I needed to write the Review-Journal (“Henderson officer who kicked man promoted”). The story recounted how in 2010 Mr. Seekatz was seen on video kicking a man suffering a diabetic episode five times in the head.

Yet six years later he is promoted. Shame!

He should have been fired on the spot when it happened.

John D’Alexander


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