retired, Sen. Neal thanks all who supported him in his 32 years in the
upper house. He remains engaged with the great issues, as he has throughout
his life. The
continuing high volume of traffic to this website reinforces and rewards
Nevada History: The alternate universe of Sen. Joe Neal
Interview conducted on May 13, 2008.
Dana Bennett: Good morning, Senator Neal.
Joe Neal: Good morning.
Bennett: Lets think back to the first day of your first session. Its Monday, January 15, 1973. It was overcast with a trace of showers, but the weather was mild in Carson City that day, and the newspapers were reporting that it was supposed to a fairly calm session. You were walking into the Legislative Building in Carson City for the first time. What were you thinking?
Neal: My wife and my two daughters were with me, and I had family who had come from Oakland, California, to be a part of that session. I was mostly thinking about what I was going to dothe type of issues that I was going to tackle. Being the first person of African-American descent to serve in the Senate, I felt that it was going to be difficult to do the things that I wanted to do because I sensed that other legislators who had been part of the process for some time wanted me to have a waiting period to learn about the process and sit back and be quiet. I was aware that I only had two sessions in a four-year period, and that if I wanted to do anything, I had to start from day one. I had studied political scienceI had a degree in the subjectand I had studied law. I was familiar with what needed to be done. I just hadnt had the opportunity to help make the laws. But I had a sense of what was needed and what would most benefit the people that I represented. Those were the thoughts that I had in mind upon entering that first day.
Bennett: How did you get there? Why did you decide to run for the Senate?
Neal: I decided to run for the Senate after three tries for the Legislature. My first run for the Legisla-ture was for the Assembly in 1964. That was testing the process because we had an old borough-type system where the Legislature was similar to the federal system today. Each county had one Senator, and the Assembly was apportioned along those particular lines, also. So I decided that I would go down and just file. Id get 50 posters and just tack them up around town because at that time all of the Assembly people ran at large. So I tacked up signsthe 50 posters. That had never been done before. Even though blacks had run for office, they did not put their picture on a poster. I put my picture on the 50 posters tacked up around town, and people just went wild over this person who was so brave and brazen to put his picture on a poster, whos black, and who was running in 1964 for the Assembly.
At that particular time, my thoughts were concerned with creating a law school and a public defender for the area here. Those were the two main issues that I was running on. One of those issues turned out to be successful because Justice John Mowbraywho was originally from Boston; Irish; a district judge; and subsequently became a Supreme Court Justicedecided that seemed like a good idea. So he wrote and got a grant from the Ford Foundation to establish that particular office, so it did have some impact. The first person to serve as the public defender was Richard Bryan.
Of course, I did not win that election; in fact, it would have been a miracle if I had. Then in 1968, I decided to try again to run for public office. That time, I ran for the Senate. The person in that seat was B. Mahlon Brown. As you know, he was part of Senate leadership when I was elected. Between 1964 and 1968, a woman named Flora Dungan challenged this old borough system under the case of Baker v. Carr, which outlawed that type of system and instituted a one-man, one-vote rule. After that, the Legislature was apportioned based on the population, but they still had at-large seats. So they had one at-large seat in Clark County, and that was held by B. Mahlon Brown. They had another four or five that were at-large, and you had to run together with a lot of the Senators and Assemblymen. I think the Assembly had, at that particular time, nine seats in Clark County, all at-large.
In 1966, Paul Laxalt decided to run for Governor. He wanted a fellow by the name of Woodrow Wilson, who was black, to run, and Woody ran for the Assembly. In 1966, there was a sizeable black population here in Clark County in what we call the West Side and which was strictly Democratic. But once you got a black who was Republican in the General Election, the vote would go to Woody. Woody would come in last because the Republicans would elect him to the general, so when every-body was running, the black community would push him up and make him the ninth person to be elected. That went on for three timesin 1966, 1968, and 1970
In 1970, I had moved from Las Vegas to North Las Vegas, and we had two Assembly-men who were running in two seats that were carved out particularly for North Las Vegas. The city fathers wanted to get rid of the black population in Las Vegas because a sufficient number of votes had developed to really control the city government. So they built a housing development called Regal Estates and Valley View, across the city line from Las Vegas into North Las Vegas. I moved to Regal Estates into a place where I still reside today. I decided again to run for the Assembly. Keep in mind that I was not thinking about winningthat was never my thought. It would have been a miracle if I had won. There were other people in this state who needed to be represented and who could be represented if given the opportu-nity, and those were members of the black community. We were the largest minority group in the early and mid-1960s and going into the 1970s.
When I moved into North Las Vegas, the two individuals who were in the Legislature were a fellow by the name of Paul May and one by the name of Dave Branch. Dave Branch runs a casino somewhere in Latin America. Paul May is deceased.
In that election, I only campaigned in the black communitypurposely!because I knew we had a sufficient amount of votes that could really, really push Paul to do some things. One of the things I wanted him to do was create a district that blacks could be elected from and cut back on that system. I was campaigning for reapportionment. I stayed strictly in the black community, and when the vote came, I almost beat Paul May.
After the primary election, Paul came over to my officeI was the compliance officer for Reynolds Electrical Engineering Companyand he asked me what I had in mind about the reapportionment suit. I had a blackboard in my office, so I went to the blackboard and dia-gramed for him one Senator, two Assembly-men, a school board representative, a State Board of Education person, a Regent, a county commissioner, and a hospital trustee.
I said, These are the
offices that Im looking for in terms of reapportionment. He
said, Okay, we will help you get this.
He was a scientist, so he looked at it and said, Well, yes. It was fortunate that the northern part was mostly Republican, and in the 1970 election, the Republicans took over the Assembly, and Frank Young became the Chairman of the Elections Committee. So that was good.
Now weve got a Democrat; weve got a Republican. So he drew up those maps with the same recommendation that I had recommended to Paul May, with the one Senator, two Assemblymen, county commissioner, school board representative, state board of education representative, and board of regents.
In the 1971 session, I made the trip up there, and Frank took me in his office, showed me the map, and asked me if thats what I wanted. I told him, Yes, thats exactly what I want. Lo and behold, they pushed it through the Assembly.
I dont think that Woody, who was in the Assembly, really knew exactly what was going on. I think he saw an opportunity where he could move up to the Senate. A lot of people thought that was the case. Many of the conservative Democrats and the Republicans did not see me out there as a person who would beat Woody. Woody was kind of a mild-mannered person and didnt like shaking the tree. Understand that, up until this time, the black community enabled white Democrats to get elected because we had between 8,000 and 12,000 votes in our neighborhood, and this was a period of time when it took about 25,000 or 30,000 votes to elect a Governor. With that many votes, it became a force to be reckoned with. But nobody had really guided it to the point where it was creating something where blacks could be elected to offices or responsible positions.
After the bill was passed,
and it was to take effect in July of 1971, the Democratic Party sued to
challenge [chuckles] the legislation. I had to get some Republicans
to come on my side to fight the Democrats to defeat this in court. I forget
the guys name who was head of the Democratic Party at that particular
time, but the Governor was Mike OCallaghan. Mike did not say anything
about this. Of course, he could have stopped the lawsuit if he wanted
to, but he didnt say anything about it. The Legislature had to defend
what theyd done. I think Frank Daykin was there at the time, and
they had to defend what they had passed. They had created a couple of
single-seat districts. One was a district in the black community, and
one was Jim Gibsons district. I think they might have had a couple
of single-seats up north, but the rest of them were dual seats. So we
filed a countersuit to create all single seats for both Senate and the
Assembly. We couldnt lose because we now had the Legislature on
our side who had passed the bill that we thought was good. A three-judge
panel from the Ninth Cir-cuit met in Reno on December 13, 1971. The panel
met to hear the argument, and since it was an expedited case, they ruled
in early January that the legislative reapportionment would stand. That
was in 1972.
He said, Joe, he wants you to come by. I said, No. Im over here. That went on for almost the duration of the session. One day [chuckles], Im walking out of the Senate Chambers and walking down the hall, and I heard this voice say, Joe Neal! It sounded like OCallaghan; he had this crisp Irish voice. I turned, and he said, Ive been trying to get you to come over and talk to me. You wont come over and talk to me.
I said, Well, Governor, what do you want of me? And he started laughing and said, Damn you! Ive been trying to get you over here almost two months! [laughter] I asked where hed be, and he told me that he had some data over at the mansion, so I said that I would come over and talk to him. And I did talk to him. He didnt understand that I was not kow-towing to him. I recognized the fact that he was Governor. I recognized the fact that I was in the Legislature. Its separation of powers. So we went all through that session, and we had kind of a rough time.
If he had something that I thought was correct and fair to the people of the State of Nevada and to the people that I represented, yes, I would support it. But if it wasnt, I didnt, and I would get up and talk against it.
That was something that he
didnt like, if you could pick his legislation apart. He didnt
like that at all.
After the session was over, Im back home and back at Reynolds at my regular job. I picked up the paper, and it had this big article by Paul Price that said that the only piece of legislation that I was able to pass was to give civil rights back to a whoremonger.
I said, Wait a minute.
Hold it. Thats not my piece of legislation. As it turned out,
Slattery was working for Joe Conforte, who ran the Mustang Ranch [laughter]
and was an ex-felon; he wanted to pass this in order to help him.
So I went back to my office, and I shot off a letter to Paul Price to
the effect that once one passed a piece of legislation, he cannot determine
who would take advantage of it. [laughter] That was my answer to
There were about five Mormons
out of 20 in the Senate: Jim Gibson who was a very respected leader at
that time, Keith Ashworth, Robbie Robinson, Mel Close, and Lee Walker.
B. Mahlon Brown was convinced to go along with this, so Raggio had ten
votes, and he needed my vote.
I realized that Im kind
of like the key person. My thought was if the county wanted to outlaw
this, let them do it because they had the law right on the books to do
that. I didnt want to participate with Raggio in trying to destroy
it. But on the other hand, they had gotten my bishopIm Catholicto
sign a letter [laughter] that he was opposed to all of this. So
Im sitting in this quandary, and Im wondering how to handle
it if I oppose this thing. A no vote would have been easy but if I opposed
He couldnt get angry with me because he saw what I had done to himhad made it funny and just laughed it right out. And it relieved me of a hardship in the future in terms of dealing with these people because they all had to go back and listen to these jokes, and they would tell them to other people. [chuckles]
I guess Raggio and Joe Conforte
never did get along, and when he became Majority Leader, he still liked
to put a lot of pressure on Joe Conforte. But thats the long way
of answering all the questions about how I thought about the first session
and all that.
So I would take legislation
that was introduced by other legislators, and I would pick it apart. I
would find things that they had not considered, and I would get up and
give a speech on that. They would just get mad.
Snowy wanted to tax the Indians because they set up these smoke shops. When I first went into the Legislature, the Indians came to me and would lobby to get the contracts extended with people who had contracted with them. I said to them, Why the hell are you guys lobbying for other people to sell cigarettes on your reservation when you are on it and you can do that yourself? Why would you want to have a contract with anybody other than yourselves?
I said, I cant support you.
So they went back [laughter] and when those contracts became due, they got out of them and set up their own shops.
Now Snowy Monroe wanted to tax the Indians, but they had their smoke shops only on a reservation, so I knew that he couldnt do that because we cannot tax a sovereign nation. The United States cant tax Canada. [laughter]
They introduced that legislation, and I got up and argued against it, but they passed it. The Indians took them to court and beat them. Then they tried to tax the cigarettes before they got to the reservation. Since it was a reservation, it became an issue of interstate commerce, so I got up and argued against that. They passed it. The Indians took them to court and beat them.
They fought on with that until
finally they just gave up. The Indians found out that I was one of the
people in the Legislature who really, really supported them. In fact,
I have lifetime hunting and fishing privileges on the Schurz Reservation
because of my activity. I had very, very good friends among the Indian
community. That was kind of like a salvation for me because at the beginning
of my legislative career in 1973 and 1975, I did not have a good relationship
with the white legislators. But I had a good relationship with the people
in Carson City. I had a lot of friends outside of the legislative structure.
I said to myself, Nobody is using this guy. So from that first day through that whole session of 1973, J. T. Havel became my individual re-searcher because everybody else was using the legal folks. I would use him as a researcher. [chuckles]
That guy used to turn out some good stuff for mespeeches and everything. He helped me out with the Indian thing. One of the best speeches I gave on the floor was one that he had written for me. Finally, they found out that I was [laughter] utilizing this guy, and they said, Hell, if he equipped him with all this information, so they decided to get somebody else in here.
Following J. T. Havel, they
brought in Andy Grose, and Andy Grose then began to develop the research
people so everybody could share in this information. In 1973 and 1975,
[laughter] I was the only person who utilized J. T. Havel. He decided
to leave and went on to some other legislature where he could really become
a big part of it. He asked me to write a letter of recommendation for
him, and of course, I did.
Then Andy, being in the military,
found out that he was getting overwhelmed, and he decided hed better
sectionalize this out and really create a research division. So the only
one they had with J. T. Havel was Vivian Topken who was over in the library,
which was kind of like a little separate group that was as part of the
Research Division. But they just kept mostly newspaper clippings and things
like that. If you needed a book, they had to order it from the State Library.
But thats one of the things that I often laugh about. These guys
had these fellows down there, and nobody was using them.
Senator Harry Reid was the
Lt. Governor at that time so it made him President of the Senate, and
this was Dick Bryans first session in the Senate, too. In caucus,
I argued that the rule to have an extra person sign on your legislation
made it hard to do things that would favor your constituents, particularly
if people asked you to introduce a bill for them, and you couldnt
get another person to sign onto the bill. They bought the argument. But
my argument was really that I was going to be introducing bills that none
of them was going to be signing. But I needed to get that out and get
my bills before the public because the press would help me institute some
of the changes by reporting on the legislation that I was introducing.
So we got that rule changed. Fortunately for me, I was able to introduce
a lot of bills. In fact, at one time I introduced the whole Democratic
platform. [laughter] I guess I introduced so many of those bills
that they decided to put a limitation on the bills that each legislator
Of course, I should tell you the story about the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment.] This was funny. [chuckles]
It was, I think, in the 1977
session of the Legislature. They had tried to pass the ERA, and then the
women made a great push in getting the Legislature to the point of getting
people who favored that. They broke out with a 10-10 splitwe had
a 20-member Senate. The late Richard Blakemore was one of the conservative
Democrats, and he told the newspaper that if the ERA ever got before the
Senate, it would never pass. I was thinking about the rules and knew that,
with an even house and a Lt. Governorwho was Bob Rose at that timewho
had said that he would vote to pass the ERA, somebody was going to try
to abstain. So I decided to look and see if that could happen. Well, it
couldnt because we had a rule dated back to 1864 that, once it was
invoked by three members of the Senate, would require every member within
the bar of the Senate to vote yea or nay. No abstentions! Yea or nay.
They had a big discussion about this in the Constitutional Convention
as to why that should be the case.
He looked at me, and he said, If you invoke it, I will enforce it.
Came the session, and I led
off the speech for the passage of the ERA. I must have talked about 20
minutes to lull the people. They were thinking about what they were going
to doGibson, Floyd Lamb, Mel Close, and all of themand they
werent listening to me. At the last part of my speech, I invoked
Rule 30. When I invoked Rule 30, Bill Hernstadt and Wilbur Faiss stood
up with me and that made three Senators. I saw Raggio pull his rule book
out and started looking at it, and he looked back at me, and he started
laughing. [chuckles] I guess he knew he was going to vote for the
passage of the ERA, but he didnt know how it was going to get passed.
He announced that the two abstentions would be placed them in the no column, declared the house evenly divided, and boom! he pushed that button, and the eleventh vote came up on screen. Ill never forget it. The late Keith Ashworth, who liked to tinker with the voting machine, was sitting by me, and he said, Damn, that voting machine has gone haywire again. [laughter]
And I said, No, the Lt.
Governor just passed the ERA out of the Senate.
I remember running into Lamb when I went over to the Ormsby House, and Lamb was going back to his room. And he walked up to me, and he said, You did it to us, you rat, you! [laughter]
But Gibson took it pretty hard.
I didnt know why he took it so hard until after his death, and I
was at his funeral. Some of the people from Salt Lake City came to his
funeral and made the statement that he had told them that the ERA would
never pass. Then I understood why he took it so hard.
On that one little issue. Masons Manual is about seven hundred and some pages. I used to study that book all the time. When I was at the Legislature, I would just read it, read it, read it, read it because it was annotated with case laws and all that stuff. I became very adept in procedures and tried to understand them because that was my way of dealing with the people.I didnt come by that alone.
Leola Armstrong, who was Secretary
of the Senate for a long time, called me when I first got elected. She
gave me her Masons Manual and said, Learn this book. If you
learn this book, youre going to be able to represent yourself very
well on the floor of the Senate. And I studied that suckerstudied
it and studied it. It became very handy to me because many years later
I was still able to do things to them that set them back on their heels
and beat them at their own game when they tried to do things. I found
great delight in doing that. [laughter]
If they felt that way, why not get rid of it? But the argument was that you could train it on a tree and clock the tree going 85 miles an hour.
So how could you tell who was
speeding? I used to make good arguments. In fact, there were some changes
made, but not in our Legislature.
When I checked, I learned that
they would not have had the fire, if they had retrofit the hotel with
sprinkler systems. As Chairman of the Human Resources Committee, it was
within my jurisdiction to do something about that. So I got the bill and
On that same night, they had
the Hilton fire, and some people got killed.
Bill Hernstadt signed onto
that bill, and we pushed that through. I pushed it through my committee
with the assistance of the State Fire Marshal, a guy by the name of Tom
Huddleston, who realized, more than I did, the effect of this piece of
legislation. My concentration was on the MGM fire, but he saw the wider
application of that. Actually, it turned out that we retrofitted the whole
state! The hotels or any building over 50 feet and had 150 people enter
it had to be retrofitted, with the exception of churches. We didnt
deal with churches. So that bill was pushed out of my committee and sent
to the Assembly.
Jack Jeffrey had received my bill and the Governors bill. He came down to the Senate and asked me what I wanted to do with the Governors bill. I said, Take all of the good things out of the Governors bill, amend them into mine, send it back up to us, and well pass it.
And thats what he did.
Of course, the hotels didnt
like that bill too much. Instead of them actually paying for the retrofitting,
they got revenue bonds, which meant that the whole nation paid for it.
One of my great supporters in that was a lady who had moved up from the AssemblyJean Ford. She was very heavy into libraries, so we got together and passed that bond issue. When Jean left the Senate, I went on and further developed that in terms of the local people here in Clark County, giving them the authority to go ahead and build libraries. Thats why you see a lot of these big libraries around the county here.
Then we followed that up by
making sure that all the bills that we passed within the Legislature or
the ordinances passed within the countyif its local, county,
or citywould be put in the libraries within that area. All of the
laws that we pass now go to those libraries throughout the state. That
was not being done, yet we charged our citizens with knowing the law.
But they did not have access to the law, so we gave them access.
Gaming came in with their lobbyists
and said that if we let them go with a quarter percent, theyd check
it out and see what they could do next time or in the very near future.
The next session came, but they didnt do anything. They lied to
us. I watched almost 16 years go by before anything happened in terms
of taxes. Finally, after pushing and nudging and talking about them, we
finally got a bill passed in my last session.
I explained why we were going to need to increase this particular tax, and I always had a good argument. When you bring tourists into the state of Nevada like we were doingan average of about 45 million a yearthose tourists become temporary residents while theyre here. As such, they need health care; they utilize our water resources; they need police protection; and they utilize our roads. I said that we should tax gaming for those services; otherwise, that bill falls on the permanent population, which was about two million people.
That argument was beginning
to sell and make a lot of sense. Guinn bought it, and we increased those
taxes by a half a percent, which was not enough. I thought it should go
up to at least eight percent maybe 8.5 percentwhere the teachers
are now trying to put it. I guess in that way it made me a prophet because
now theyre trying to get it there. That was one of the big fights
that I had.
Steve Wynn came to the Legislature in the early 1990s and wanted to get an exemption from sales tax on the purchase of art, such as Rembrandts, Gauguins and Cézannes. I was opposed to the exemption because we already had too many exemptions. See, our exemptions now exceed the tax base.
If we got rid of all the exemptionsjust
reverse themwe wouldnt have a problem within the State. He
got it passed, but he made one mistake when he got it passed, which was
not in the bill: He wanted to charge the people of the State of Nevada
$6.50 each to go see his art.
Hes supposed to be the king of Nevada. He went before the Tax Commission, and nobody else was there but me. Im the only one arguing this point. I guess everybody else was afraid of him. So the Tax Commission moved the fourth meeting to Carson City. I paid my own way up there.
I was not going to give up this fight. I guess he flew up in his jet plane. [chuckles]
So I got to thinking that this guy has a vanity problem and has probably said something in some major publication about how he wants to use this art. Lo and behold, a friend of mine in Carson City came up with an article from the New Yorker where he said that he wanted to sell the art to the high rollers. But he was telling the Tax Commission that he wanted to improve the culture of the State of Nevada and have something the kids would come to see. He made a mistake because Ive examined every word.
My argument was this: Wed have people go through the casinos to see the art. That tells me that hes trying to create gamblers out of our young folks. [chuckles]
He responded that hed
have a separate door for them to go through.
I remember telling some friends of ours who were sitting in the audience after that that he would institute that charge anyway because he believes that hes king of Nevada. I said that when he did, he would have a problem coming with that. [chuckles]
I said, If he introduces
that charge, hes going to wind up paying approximately $15 million
for this tax exemption that he got. And he did.
Steve Wynn hired Harvey Whittemore. As the lobbyist on it, Harvey Whittemore got this admission fee put into law.
When the bill came up before
the Legislature, I didnt give a speech, like Id done before,
and Harvey wondered why I didnt get upset. I voted against it, but
I didnt say a word.
Kirk Kerkorian came in, telling
him off, and he wound up selling him the whole concern. Now hes
coming back with the Wynn Hotel. But that was one of the things that I
really liked about him.
He said, Hes vindictive. [Laughter]
I was just up there trying
to protect the public from him trying to rob them. I think he must have
had about $300 million in art that hed already purchased, and then
he wanted a tax exemption on it. But he wanted to charge the people to
come see the art. When the Tax Commission tells you not to do something,
but you do it, the only thing they have is to take away the exemption.
He said, Do you know what youve done to him?
I said, Well, yes. If he goes and institutes an admission fee, hes going to have to pay approximately $15 million for the tax exemption.
Joe said, You ought to
come and work for me. [Laughter]
But what Im being told now is that a voice like mine has completely disappeared from the process. Thats the sad part.
We do not have anybody to challenge those issues that needed to be challenged. And that, I find, is to my dislike.
I did not think that that would happen. When I went back up for the induction into the Hall of FameI thought [chuckles] it was political games, myselfone Senator got up and said, We have not had a gaming tax bill introduced in this Senate since he left.
But now youve got the
teachers out there fighting and trying to get something on. This time
its a constitutional amendment. So I get some solace out of that,
seeing that I did reach somebody. Somebody did wake up.
The Legislature, in my judgment, did not see it that way. They saw it as a private concern. Of course, the building of the hotel is a private concern, but the gaming was a privileged right extended to the gamers.
I always wonder why it was so difficult for our Legislature to see that and tax gaming accordingly.
If you let gaming run amok in a state, it will make your community very, very poor because the only product that gaming creates in a community is an empty pocket.
Thats why the mob, when they were operating, operated on Fremont Street and the Strip. They did not allow any gaming houses to get out into the communities because the only person who makes money from gaming is the person who actually owns a casino.
Its not the individual
who goes in there and plays the game. Its just like the lottery.
They let you win every now and then, but just think about the millions
of people who put up their dollars and did not get anything. But they
publicize the ones who win and keep you coming back with the idea that
maybe you could win, too. So that was one of the problems.
They said that they would take care of our educational system, and they will not be a burden on the State.
My argument was that gaming has now become like the miners. They take, and they give back nothing. And thats what it is.
They said that they are the highest contributors to the State. They should be because they also created the social problems that go along with gaming.
See, I was talking about gaming
addiction long before it was popular. If you went to these guys and talked
about gaming addiction, theyd want to run you out of the place.
Theyd argue that were infringing upon that individuals
right to go out and do whatever he wants to do. But I said that they put
it there as an attraction to tell that person he can win money, but once
he loses all of his money and becomes a burden on the State, they dont
want to help pay for that. And thats where we are today.
What I found most destructive in terms of our whole tax system, as it relates to gaming, was that instead of taxing gaming and have them pay for the problems that they create, the Legislature increases the fees on drivers licenses, insurance premiums, sales tax and all of that stuff to make up the difference.
But how long can you do that?
Pretty soon that source gets expended; it cant take anymore. I think were at that particular point today.
That was one of the things that I was trying to correct.
Look at a state like Illinois. Illinois lets the gaming houses that operate there make $250 million and then everything they make over that is taxed at 70 percent. But you come here with a proposal, and people say, No! No! No! No! Its going to hurt us!
But it doesnt hurt them because what youre actually taxing is the gross.
When a person puts his money in a slot machine, that pile of money that falls into the bucket is whats being taxed.
Youre not taxing the person who loses the money. Whereas, if you put on a room tax, youre taxing the person who actually purchases a room because then they have to apply the tax to that person having to pay it.
But the gambler who puts in a dollar is not taxed. Only the gross that falls into the bucket. Thats what they dont want you to touch.
And thats what I told them.
I said, Look, we need to touch the bucket. [chuckles]
Were going to get more money from that bucket.
Thats why they disagreed with me, and some of the gamers who are still therelike the Terry Lannis, the Steve Wynns and those who have been out there for a long timejust didnt like it, even though they knew that they were wrong.
But they just didnt want you to touch that.
Again, what I found so devastating in terms of their position was that if you tax them, they can write it off against their federal income taxes.
That was the devastating part about that. So we tax them at 6.75 percent now? They write that off against their federal income taxes.
The way the gross gaming tax is structured is if they dont make the money, they dont have to pay the tax.
And I sat up there, looking at those suckers, and I said, Oh, Lord, they just get away with murder, and theyre just killing poor folks.
Well, so much for that.
Neal: I hope Ive given you enough. [chuckles]
Senator Joseph M. Neal, Jr. May 13, 2008 PAGE 8S.B. 39, which authorizes the creation of a police review board, passed in 1999.
John Code Mowbray was a District Court Judge from 1953 to 1967 and served on the Nevada Supreme Court from 1967 to 1993.
Flora Dungan (D-Clark) served in the Assembly 1962-1964 and 1966-1968. In 1965, Dungan v. Sawyer required reapportionment of the Legislature and the Board of Regents.
The first African-American
elected to the Nevada Legislature, Woodrow Wilson (R-Clark) served in
the Assembly from 1966 to 1972. He passed away in 1999.
Frank Young (R-Clark) served in the Assembly from 1966 to 1972.
Donal N. (Mike) OCallaghan (D) was Governor from 1971 to 1979.
Frank Daykin became Legislative Legal Counsel in 1977, serving until his retirement in 1985
.Christy L. (Chris) Schaller was Governor Mike OCallaghans Chief of Staff. He passed away in 1984 and is honored by a bust in the entry hallway of the Nevada Capitol
.James M. (Slats) Slattery (R-Virginia City) served in the Assembly from 1950 to 1952 and in the Senate from 1954 to 1970.
Dr. Robert E. (Bob) Robinson
(D-Clark) served in the Assembly from 1972 to 1982 and in the Senate from
1982 to 1986.
Lee E. Walker (D-Clark) served
in the Senate from 1970 to 1976. He passed away in 2006.
Joseph E. Dini, Jr.,(D-Lyon) served in the Assembly from 1966 to 2002. He was Speaker a record eight regular sessions and named Speaker Emeritus in 2001.A Senator since 1972,
William J. Raggio (R-Reno) was Washoe County District Attorney from 1958 to 1970.
Warren L. (Snowy) Monroe (D-Elko) served in the Senate from 1958 to 1976. He passed away in 1987.
James T. Havel was Deputy Research Director during the 1971 and 1973 Sessions.
Andrew P. Grose was Deputy Research Director during the 1975 Session and then Research Director through the 1981 Session.
Mary Lou Love, now Cooper, was in the Research Division in the 1980s. Shes currently at the Council of State Governments-West.
Vivian L. Topken was the Assembly History Clerk from 1953 to 1964.
B. Mahlon Brown (D-Clark) served in the Senate from 1950 to 1976.He was Minority Leader for three regular sessions, President Pro Tempore for two, and Majority Leader for six. He passed away in 1995.
Richard H. Bryan (D-Clark)
served in the Nevada Senate from 1972 to 1978.
S.B. 369, which limits the deficiency collectible upon a repossessed vehicle, passed in 1975.
James I. Gibson (D-Clark) served in the Assembly from 1958 to 1966 and in the Senate from 1966 until his demise in 1988. He chaired the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, 1975-1981, and was Majority Leader, 1977-1985.
Richard E. Blakemore (D-Central Nevada) served in the Senate from 1972 to 1984. He passed away in 2007.
As Lt. Governor, Robert Rose (D) was President of the Senate from 1975 and 1977.
William H. (Bill) Hernstadt (D-Clark) served in the Senate from 1976 to 1984.
Wilbur Faiss (D-Clark) served in the Senate from 1976 to 1984.
Keith Ashworth (D-Clark) served in the Senate from 1976 to 1984. He passed away in 1996.
Floyd R. Lamb (D-Clark) served in the Senate from 1956 to 1983.
Leola H. Armstrong was Secretary of the Senate from 1958 to 1981.
Neal first introduced a bill prohibiting the use of radar in 1979.
Neal and Hernstadt sponsored S.B. 214, which requires sprinkler systems for fire protection in hotels and requires fire codes in counties and cities.
John E. (Jack) Jeffrey (D-Clark) served in the Assembly from 1974 to 1990. He was Assembly Majority Leader in 1983, 1987, and 1989.
Jean E. Ford (Clark) served in the Assembly from 1972 to 1976 as a Republican and in the Senate from 1978 to 1982 as a Democrat. She passed away in 1998.
Donald R. Mello (D-Sparks) served in the Assembly from 1963 to 1982 and in the Senate from 1982 to 1989.
A.B. 536, which exempts certain artworks from sales taxes, passed in 1997. It was amended by S.B. 521, which passed in 1999.
Reno attorney Harvey Whittemore began lobbying the Legislature in 1978
.Joseph M. Foley was a University Regent from 1984 to 1996. He passed away in 2003.
.Helen A. Foley (D-Clark) served in the Assembly from 1980 to 1982 and in the Senate from 1982 to 1986.
Joe and Sally Conforte owned
the Mustang Ranch brothel in Storey County, just outside Reno.
Joseph M. Joe Neal, Jr.
A.B. 536 (1997).
See certain artworks exempted from sales taxes
Interviewer: Dana Bennett
Transcriber: Jean Stoess
Used with the permission of the Nevada State Legislature, Legislative Counsel Bureau.
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