Our Archives: News & Bulletins From Legislature '99
September 15, 1999 at 21:34:12
SEN. NEAL AND TEACHERS' UNION PRESENT PETITIONS THURSDAY MORNING
LAS VEGAS (Sept. 15) Sen. Joe. Neal, D-North Las Vegas, addresses the Nevada Taxpayers Association this Thursday morning, 9-16-99, at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. He will present the case for his initiative petition to add a higher tier to the gross gaming tax for casinos grossing more than $1 million per month. It would be the first increase in the tax since 1987. Nevada casinos pay the lowest gaming levies in the world. Neal's new tier would affect just over 100 major clubs by adding a five percentage point increase. It would still leave Nevada's taxation among the lowest.
The Nevada teachers union will present its business income tax petition. Executive Director Ken Lange is scheduled to speak for the Nevada State Education Association. The representative of a northern Nevada group desiring a new version of California's 1976 property tax-slashing Prop. 13 has canceled.
The Nevada Taxpayers Association and Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, R, are currently trial-ballooning a sales tax on services. (See this week's Las Vegas Business Press, "Expansion of sales tax floated," by Larry Wills, 9-13-99.)
Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Stardust convention area, with speakers scheduled to start at 8:15.
Material from Sen. Neal's remarks will be posted at this website. Petition circulation cannot begin until January, Y2K. To volunteer or contribute, please e-mail Sen. Neal.
Date: Monday, August 30, 1999 at 02:16:40
DETAILS ON ATTENDING THE SEPT. 16 TAX PETITION TRIPLEHEADER
Carole Vilardo at the Nevada Taxpayers Association has been the prime mover in putting the breakfast forum together and NTA is the lead organization. I inadvertently omitted them from the list of sponsoring organizations in the previous item and regret the oversight.
The NTA office in Las Vegas may be reached at (702) 457-8442; fax (702) 457-6361. The NTA Carson City office may be reached at (775) 882-2697. Admission to the Stardust Hotel event is $25 per person at the door, $20 in advance. We have been advised that space at the breakfast is limited, so those interested should make reservations without delay. (More details in the next item, below.) AB
Date: Sunday, August 29, 1999 at 16:45:41
SEN. NEAL TO PRESENT GAMING TAX PETITION BEFORE MAJOR BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
All three of Nevada's major newspapers run Neal guest editorials in August
LAS VEGAS The three (so far) proposed Nevada initiative petitions on tax matters will get their first side-by-side scrutiny on Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Stardust Hotel-Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, will present his arguments for raising the gross gaming tax on the state's largest, most profitable casinos. Neal recently revealed details of his petition (see links, below), for which signature gathering will begin in January, 2000, the earliest time allowed under state law.
Randi Thompson, Executive Director of Nevadans for Fair Taxation, will present her Incline Village-based organization's proposal for a latter day Proposition 13 (aka the 1976 California Jarvis-Gann Initiative). While their petition to slash property taxes has not been published, it will probably closely follow the language of Assembly Joint Resolution 17, introduced by Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Reno/Sparks North Valleys, during the 1999 Nevada legislative session.
When their texts become available, the Neal and Thompson group petitions may be viewed as two symptoms of the same ailment. As Sen. Neal stated in his August 26, 1999, Reno-Gazette Journal guest editorial, casino-caused "financial misdirection has squeezed municipalities which have had nowhere to turn but property taxes for necessities such as parks. This explains why such levies have consistently outpaced inflation in many parts of Nevada."
Finally, an as yet unnamed representative of the Nevada State Education Association will present the teachers union proposal for a 5% corporate profits tax on all businesses save gambling casinos and mining. (Taxation on mining was fixed to net proceeds by a 1989 state constitutional amendment.)
The Sept. 16 event in the Stardust Hotel convention area begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 8:15. Sponsoring organizations include the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the (southern) Nevada Development Authority, the Nevada Manufacturers Association, the Nevada Mining Association, the Nevada Retail Association and the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association.
Read more about it:
Sen. Neal's commentary in the 8-26-99 Reno Gazette-Journal is not available at the newspaper's homepage, but will soon post at the front page of this website. If you are not currently included on our list-serve and would like a copy by e-mail, you may request it and/or future upload inclusion by contacting Andrew Barbano.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL -- Senator argues for higher Nevada gaming tax
LAS VEGAS SUN -- Experts: Gaming, transiency make LV tough for child-raising
LAS VEGAS SUN -- Neal reveals details of gaming tax initiative
LAS VEGAS REVIEW- JOURNAL letter writer supports Neal
The 1999 legislative fight to get casinos to pay a fair share
BARBWIRE -- Fold democracy and let casinos rule by memo; teachers tax petition questioned
LAS VEGAS BUSINESS PRESS -- Proposed teachers' tax petition same as earlier gambling industry proposal
Carson City newspaper endorses Neal's gaming tax hike
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL -- Issues settled on Bellagio art tax break
Date: Thursday, August 26, 1999 at 18:13:15
RENO (Aug. 26) -- Sen. Neal's guest editorial entitled "Gaming must pay fair share of tax burden" appeared on page 9A of today's Reno Gazette-Journal. Therein, Sen. Neal uses the gambling industry's own conduct to prove the need for an increase in the gross gaming tax on the state's largest, most profitable casinos.
The Reno paper has not posted the story at its web site, but we've found that sometimes they will add guest editorials when they move the paper to their archive. You can find details of Sen. Neal's initiative petition proposal at the front page of this site. We will be uploading today's installment soon.
Expect the evil empire to strike back shortly.
Date: Saturday, August 21, 1999 at 00:33:58
CORRECTION ON THE PREVIOUS ITEM "
Sen. Neal attended the National Conference of State Legislatures, July 24-28, in Indianapolis, Ind., not the NAACP national convention which was held earlier in the summer.
Date: Friday, August 20, 1999 at 01:57:08
WELCOME BACK TO THE ARENA.
Sorry to have been away from this bulletin board for so long. If you haven't had a chance to keep up with Nevada newspapers on the web, you'll find legislative updates and a wide range of other public affairs commentary at Barbwire by Barbano, the weekly column from the Daily Sparks Tribune.
The Nevada Legislature, alas, went pretty much according to the most cynical script.
As master songwriter Leonard Cohen put it a few years back, "Everybody knows the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows the war is over. Everybody knows the good guys lost. Everybody knows the fight was fixed.The poor stay poor, the rich get rich. That's how it goes. Everybody knows."
The poor and the weak suffered the worst in this legislature, as usual.
"Ask a lawmaker what the Nevada Legislature did for the middle class and it's like asking an actor about his reviews," veteran legislative reporter Dennis Myers wrote in the June 11 Daily Sparks Tribune.
"Ask lawmakers what they did for the state's businesses and rich folks and they'll get awfully quiet, though that gleam in their eyes will reveal they have a full array of goodies in mind, ranging from the $15 million (Steve) Wynn art tax dodge to the $200,000 subsidy supplied to a Minnesota company which owns a Clark County golf course," Myers continued.
"But ask them what they did for the state's low income residents and you get a lot of blank stares. Literally. I pointed a television camera (on which silence shows up real fast) and asked the question and I got a lot of blank stares...
"Sen. Joe Neal (says) that not only did the lawmakers do nothing for the poor, but actually damaged them by diverting federal money for dental care for the poor statewide to creation of a dental school in Las Vegas," Myers wrote.
"Neal (adds) that the lawmakers will never do anything for the poor as long as they are spending all their time on their bellies, 'not wanting to, you know, tap the big boys and make them pay their fair share. And as a result, you know, the little folks -- the little folks lose.'"
On August 19, Sen. Neal opened up the next front in his lifelong battle for equity and equality. In a guest editorial in the Las Vegas Sun, Sen. Neal revealed the first details of his initiative petition to raise the gross gaming tax on the state's largest, most profitable casinos.
Please read "Gambling must ante up," and tell your friends about it. By law, petition circulation cannot begin until January Y2K, but the next six months will be crucial for organization. Keep an eye on this website for announcements and instructions on how to get involved. He will need support from every county in Nevada.
There have been a few positive developments of late. The new Joseph M. Neal Elementary School opens this month, already over capacity like several other new ones in the fastest-growing city in the United States.
Designed for 650 students, Neal Elementary will open with 685.
The Steve Wynn art tax break takes millions of dollars annually away from school children. Sen. Neal's gaming tax increase proposal earmarks half its proceeds for school operations.
Sen. Neal attended the NAACP national convention a few weeks ago in his capacity as First Vice-President of the Las Vegas Chapter, a post to which he was elected earlier this year. He has long been active in NAACP affairs.
Sen. Neal's 1997 legislation to expand the Las Vegas City Council from four to six seats resulted in voter approval at the June municipal election. The redistricting plan is now being worked out with all the expected jockeying and gerrymandering.
Please stay tuned and be sure to stay in touch.
Date: Monday, April 26, 1999 at 02:58:11
HIGH NOON IN CARSON CITY --- NEAL V. WYNN THIS THURSDAY WITH $18 MILLION ON THE LINE
CARSON CITY (April 26) --- The Nevada State Assembly Committee on Taxation will hear Senate Bill 521 in Carson City this Thursday, April 29, at 1:30 p.m. in hearing room 3142. Please show up or contact your representative or both. The hearing will probably be teleconferenced to the Sawyer Building in Las Vegas.
The bill will liberalize a tax loophole for Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn which he pushed thru the 1997 legislative session. It expands a multi-million dollar annual tax break subsidizing Wynn's Bellagio casino art collection at the expense of Nevada school children.
The new version was approved by the Nevada Senate by a vote of 14-7 on April 16. Here are the MAGNIFICENT 7 who voted against penalizing Nevada students to enrich a billionaire --- Republican Sens. O'Connell of Las Vegas and Amodei, Carson-Lyon-Storey. Democrats: Las Vegas Sens. Care, Coffin, Titus and Wiener; Sen. Neal, North Las Vegas.
Here is the assembly committee lineup which will hear the bill Thursday, April 16. From Reno: Greg Brower (R), Vivian Freeman (D), Dawn Gibbons (R). Sparks: Bernie Anderson (D). So. Nevada: Committee Chair David Goldwater, Morse Arberry, John Lee, Mark Manendo, Harry Mortenson, Bob Price, all Democrats; Sandra Tiffany, R.
From rural Nevada: Committee Vice-Chair Roy Neighbors, D-Tonopah; John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain.
Assembly e-mail addresses consist of a lawmaker's first-name initial and full last name followed by @asm.state.nv.us. Here's an example for Bob Price: email@example.com
To leave a phone message, call (775) 687-4848 in northwestern Nevada, (702) 384-2225 in Las Vegas, or (800) 978-2878 toll-free. You can fax any assemblymember at (775) 684-8888 and any senator at (775) 687-5898. Please make sure to include the bill number, SB 521, on everything.
Many lawmakers still give greater weight to paper. Write them at Legislative Building, Capitol Complex, Carson City NV 89701-4747, but do it immediately.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL BUREAU ANALYSIS: How the Wynn art loophole will turn into a budgetary hemorrhage --- A legal analysis of the pitfalls inherent in the passage of SB 521 is being distributed to media and lawmakers. It will also be uploaded to subscribers to Sen. Neal's list serve. If you have not yet received it, please send a request to Joe@Neal98.org. The text will also be available at the Nevada Legislature section of Casinos Out of Politics at www.nevadalabor.com/cop/cophome.html
READ MORE ABOUT IT --- A detailed analysis of SB 521's problems, combined with a few potshots at the beleaguered billionaire causing all this hassle, may be found in the April 18 edition of Barbwire by Barbano from the Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune. Go to www.nevadalabor.com and click on the Barbwire icon.
NEAL MOVES FORWARD WITH PETITION --- "Neal seeks vote on gaming tax hike" reads the front page headline in the Sunday, April 25, 1999, Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"A lawmaker says the gaming tax rate hasn't risen for 10 years, but critics say that's no reason to raise it," writes longtime RJ writer Jane Ann Morrison. Read what Sen. Neal says he's going to do and be amused at the rather uncomfortable responses of gambling spokespersons both named and nameless. Go to http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/1999/Apr-25-Sun-1999/news/10968670.html
LEGISLATIVE MID-TERM BOX SCORE --- Much of Sen. Neal's gambling industry legislation has been killed by all-powerful casino interests. Such is often the fate of the Great Dissenters. However, some remains very much alive.
Although Senate Bill 88 to raise the gaming tax on the largest, most profitable casinos did not survive, it will rise again as a statewide initiative petition. SB 86 to reduce casino influence in politics was likewise killed but the movement toward reigning in Nevada's plantation overlords will go on with their wallets as primary targets.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, another fundamental campaign reform proposal is still going. Sen. Neal's SB 91 authorizes candidates to include statements in a publication prepared by the secretary of state, namely the sample ballot mailed to each voter. This represents an inexpensive way for political hopefuls to present a message to voters without needing tons of corporate cash to pay for television. It is currently before the Senate Finance Committee, upon which Sen. Neal sits as the senior Democrat.
On the other hand, another money bill, SB 198, never even got a hearing. Sponsored by Sens. Neal and Titus, it would have closed another casino tax loophole passed by the 1997 session. The Lucky Bucks Tax Break basically allows casinos to print money. They are currently allowed to deduct from their Nevada taxes (already the lowest in the world), the full face value of complimentary gambling chips and lucky bucks coupons just as though they had handed their customers free cash. In this case, the cash comes from the treasury of the State of Nevada. It has already cost your state millions.
Senate Joint Resolution 16, Sen. Neal's proposal to give Nevada its own state bank like the one which has served North Dakota citizens so well for almost a century, also died under new legislative fast-track rules. That idea will live to fight another day.
Sen. Neal's SB 147, if passed, will make an appropriation to the Life Line Pregnancy Assistance and Vocational Training Center for continuation of its nonprofit pregnancy assistance, educational and vocational training programs. It remains active before the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 89 is Sen. Neal's proposal to create a fund to assist people of humble means with their utility bills. The program will be funded by money from the state abandoned property trust fund. It likewise remains active before the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 272 makes an appropriation to the Economic Opportunity Board of Clark County for replacement of its paratransit fleet. It, too, remains active before the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 274 is Sen. Neal's long-sought amendment to the charter of the City of Las Vegas to create six city council wards from the current four. The fastest growing community in the nation needs more councilmembers to properly serve the public. The bill passed the Senate 20-0 on April 2 and is currently before the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs.
Watch this space for more. If you want to follow play-by-play day-by-day, go to the legislative website which can be accessed from the Neal98 home page.
Date: Friday, April 16, 1999 at 02:11:45
WYNN ART TAX LOOPHOLE IN DOUBT
SEN. WASHINGTON, R-SPARKS, HOLDS SWING VOTE
CARSON CITY (April 16) - Tax day was Thursday for most people, but it's Friday for Las Vegas casino billionaire Steve Wynn.
Senate Bill 521 is in trouble in the Nevada State Senate. The measure would forgive about $15 million in taxes owed from the acquisition of Wynn's $300 million casino art collection. As of Thursday morning, Wynn's supporters did not have enough votes for passage.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, himself a casino licensee, moved that consideration of SB 521 be delayed until Friday. Gambling industry lawyer Harvey Whittemore and his dark-suited team have put a full court press on the senate.
Even Peter Ernaut, chief of staff to Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn, worked on the Wynn tax loophole and counted noses during the governor's visit to the legislative building Thursday.
Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, who supported the Wynn tax break in 1997, may hold the key swing vote on the controversial preferential legislation. Opponents of the billionaire's tax break have been urging Sparks residents to call the legislative hotline to urge Washington to vote against SB 521 on the floor on Friday.
The phone number is (775) 687-4848 or (800) 978-2878. Faxes may be sent to (775) 687-5898. Sen. Washington's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Wynn's backers were confident of passage after last week's action in the senate taxation committee. SB 90 proposed repeal of the 1997 loophole law. The measure sponsored by Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, failed by one vote.
The committee then turned to Wynn's bill. SB 521 would allow Mr. Wynn to have his cake and eat it, too. He could charge admission to the very students whose schools will lose millions annually because of the tax loophole.
The Nevada Tax Commission, in the rule making process to administer the tax break, last year held that the current law does not allow Wynn both his tax exemption and an entrance fee. The 1997 measure states that the recipient of the tax break must make the art available for educational purposes but does not provide for an admission charge.
Wynn insists on charging everyone, telling reporters last year that he did not want to "cheapen the experience" by letting anyone in free. "It won't bust anyone if I make it ten bucks," Wynn said. He has since increased the charge to $12. Wynn earned $3.75 million in salary and bonuses in 1998.
The San Francisco Chronicle last year called the Bellagio gallery "pro-rated on a per-painting basis...the most expensive museum in the world" to get into. (Go to http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1998/10/19/MN50464.DTL
All this comes as the fastest-growing state in the nation encounters trouble paying for that growth. Las Vegas needs to open a new school every 40 days for the next 10 years but the school district is currently fighting the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the gambling industry's tax-subsidized promotional arm, for school construction money. (See http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/1999/apr/12/508652325.html
Wynn's Bellagio sued the tax commission last November. The suit admits that Wynn seeks to avoid "personal property tax" and "local school support tax." (Bellagio v. Nevada Tax Commission, No. A396372, filed 24 Nov. 1998, page 2)
Wynn's attempt to short-circuit the court process through legislative pre-emption has become a common tactic with Nevada's monied interests.
Date: Sunday, April 11, 1999 at 01:53:10
NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL PAINTS WYNN A NEW ONE
Steve Wynn has been remarkably generous in his offer to knock $6 off admission to his art collection. Here at the Tribune, we have so many remarks to make about his generosity that we don't know where to start.
This arrogant lout got a tax break under the pretext that the people of Nevada would be somehow improved by the opportunity to view very expensive art painted by long-dead men. The law said that in order for art to qualify for the discount it would have to be displayed to the public for a certain amount of time.
It's absurd that a financially strapped state like Nevada is giving Wynn this tax break. How can anyone stand by while the foster grandparent program and school funding are cut and Steve Wynn gets a tax break for a frivolous ego trip?
But what's most appalling about the whole mess is that Wynn practically wrote the law himself, and only two years later he's trying to change it. A man's gone about as low as he can go when he can't even play by the rules he's made up for himself.
The root of the problem is that the legislators in this state have let Wynn do whatever he wants for too long. He's come to think he is the czar of Nevada and that he cannot be held accountable to his fellow Nevada residents. Why else does he make and change state laws on a whim? Because he's been allowed to, that's why.
If Wynn wants to turn Nevada into a cultural Mecca, he will have to do a lot more than keep a few pieces of art locked up in his casino and charge $12 a head for people to see it. As it is now, the Wynn art collection is nothing more than bravado. It's Steve Wynn's shouting to the world that he's stinking rich.
The works of Monet and Renoir he's collected could just as well be fancy cars or baseball cards. They do nothing for Nevada and Nevadans shouldn't be paying $18 million to have them here.
EDITORIAL FROM THE APRIL 5, 1999, DAILY SPARKS TRIBUNE
Date: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 at 04:55:11
WYNN WINS AGAIN
CARSON CITY (April 6) " Taxpayers took another beating Tuesday afternoon when Senate Bill 90 was killed by the Senate Committee on Taxation. Sponsored by Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, it would have repealed Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn's tax loophole for his high-priced casino art collections. The break is estimated to cost taxpayers about $18 million a year.
Sen. Neal testified before the Nevada Tax Commission last year that it would be against the law for Mr. Wynn to charge Nevada school children to see artwork already costing their schools millions in lost tax funds. The commission agreed and Wynn sued the commission. The case has not yet come to trial.
Supporting Neal's repeal were Las Vegas Sens. Bob Coffin (D) and Ann O'Connell (R). Voting to kill the repeal were Sens. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, and Mike McGinness, R-Fallon.
The committee then turned to SB 521, Wynn's countermeasure. It would outright give Mr. Wynn his art tax break and throw a bone to Nevadans, half-price admission to what the San Francisco Chronicle noted as "pro-rated on a per-painting basis...the most expensive museum in the world" to get into. (Go to http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1998/10/19/MN50464.DTL
Only Sen. Neal opposed setting Wynn's loophole in cement. The most shocking revelation lies in that a majority of the committee (Coffin, O'Connell, McGinness, Neal), voted against the Wynn loophole when Wynn first pushed it through in 1997.
The current legislation says Wynn will donate any leftover admission fees, after costs are deducted, to charity. Any student of Hollywood accounting knows that a net gets awfully hard to find after creative accountants get done deducting all those pesky costs.
Sen. Neal salvaged one thing after being savaged by the taxation committee. He asked Chairman McGinness when he would hold a hearing on Neal's two bills to repeal the sales tax on hearing aids (SB 405 and SB 406). Sen. McGinness said he would schedule them for Thursday, April 8, so that they would have a chance of making Friday's deadline for senate passage of all surviving legislation.
Sen. Neal urges Nevadans to contact their representatives to support this long past due reform. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses may be obtained through the legislative website, accessible through the Neal site's front page.
Date: Thursday, March 11, 1999 at 11:12:02
CAPITAL CITY NEWSPAPER ENDORSES NEAL GAMING TAX HIKE BILL
CARSON CITY, March 11 " Nevada's capital city newspaper, the Carson City Nevada Appeal, today endorsed Sen. Joe Neal's proposal to hike the gross gaming tax on the state's largest, most profitable casinos. This comes on the heels of news of a record January for Reno-Sparks casinos and a 16.6 percent gain for Nevada gambling over January of 1998. The January win statewide totaled $807.2 million, according to the Nevad Gaming Control Board.
"January was the first time clubs went over $800 million in any month since the board started compiling the monthly win reports in 1983," according to the Associated Press.
Neal's jousts with the state's predominant industry continue this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. as the Nevada State Senate Committee on Taxation hears the North Las Vegas Democrat's bill to repeal casino mogul Steve Wynn's art collectors tax break. The 1997 "Show Me the Monet" law takes millions of dollars directly from school children to subsidize casino art collections. Last year, Sen. Neal prevailed before the Nevada Tax Commission which would not allow Wynn to charge school children admission to the Bellagio art gallery. Wynn has sued the commission and has a bill being drafted to modify the 1997 law to explictly allow him to charge admission to students who subsidize his collection.
For more details on Sen. Neal's positions on the fine arts of gaming and taxation, go to http://www.neal98.org/posit1.html/
Carson City Nevada Appeal Opinion, Thursday, March 11, 1999, 2:22 AM
Editorial: Casino tax
Sen. Joe Neal's idea for another tier on Nevada's casino tax deserves a full debate in the Nevada Legislature and, in the end, is worthy of compromise legislation this session.
Neal's proposal would raise the tax rate on the state's biggest casinos - the ones bringing in more than $1 million a month in gross revenue. They would be taxed at 8.25 percent, instead of the 6.25 percent now applied to casinos with gross revenues of $134,000 a month.
There is nothing particularly unfair or discriminatory about Neal's plan. Nevada already has a tier system distinguishing among different-sized operations; this would simply refine it to take into account the megaresorts now springing up like mushrooms in Las Vegas.
Certainly it targets a specific industry. Don't most taxes? Homeowners will tell you they see tax increases almost every year, so they find it rather absurd to hear casino lobbyists whine that they would be "burdened" by the first tax increase in many years.
And we didn't feel much sympathy for the complaint that a tax on gross revenues, rather than net revenues, actually means the percentage is much higher than 6.25 percent. Ask a retailer if he's collecting 7 percent sales tax on the gross sale or on the amount of profit he's making on the sale.
What does need to be considered, however, is the effect of a tax increase on the gaming industry. It may, indeed, slow growth and investment generally - a bad thing for Nevada's economy and tax revenues.
As a related issue, an increase in gaming taxes means Nevada's government would rely even more on he industry. Diversification of the tax base is not just a handy slogan, it's absolutely necessary to the future stability of the state.
Would Neal's plan start a downward spiral that could eventually leave the state with a more serious budget dilemma?
With such high stakes, we think the Senate Taxation Committee should recommend some version of Neal's bill and generate a wider debate on the issue. One good reason would be Neal's threat to take an even higher tax rate - 9.25 percent - to the people for a vote.
Setting another tier is the best idea in Neal's bill. Where the rate should be - 7 percent or 7.25 percent might be reasonable compromises - can be the focus of that debate.
(Copyright, 1999, Nevada Appeal)
Date: Monday, March 8, 1999 at 03:14:51
TAXING PROPOSITIONS TEST TAXPAYER TOLERANCE
CARSON CITY, March 9 " Sen. Neal's SB 88, a bill to raise the gross gaming tax on Nevada's most grossly profitable big casinos, goes up for hearing this Tuesday. Everybody who's anybody in the gambling-industrial complex will show up to cry poor boy and bash Indian tribes. Call, write and show up to support the bill.
Gov. Guinn and the gambling industry are pushing toward property tax increases as the only alternative to pay for casino-spawned growth. Speak now or pay later.
Another, harsher response is in the offing. Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sun Valley, is preparing to introduce a latter day Proposition 13, a state constitutional amendment to roll back property taxes on older homes. Taxpayers have seen the gambling industry facilitate tax increases on everyone else while keeping industry levies the lowest in the nation. The gambling industry also skims hundreds of millions a year from the Nevada tax base in corporate welfare subsidies.
Municipalities have thus had few options outside of raising property taxes to pay for the impacts of casino-spawned growth. Hence, the neo-Prop. 13 proposal. (For a detailed discussion of these issues, check out the last four months of columns from the Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune at http://www.nevadalabor.com/barbwire/barbcontents.html
Taxpayer organizations have been echoing Sen. Neal's threat to take tax inequities to the voters via statewide petitions.
SB 88 proceedings begin at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday in room 2135 before the senate taxation committee. Same time, same place on Thursday, that same committee will hear SB 90, Sen. Neal's proposed repeal of the infamous Steve Wynn art collection tax break.
For more details on Sen. Neal's positions on gaming and taxation, go to http://www.neal98.org/posit1.html
Coming soon to www.NevadaLabor.com: Casinos Out of Politics (COP), a new statewide organization to attack all of the above issues.
Breaking news may be posted at any hour at the Neal "bulletins" site, right here. Stay tuned and tell your friends.
Date: Monday, March 8, 1999 at 02:48:24
GOV. GUINN TRASHES NEAL'S NUCLEAR DUMP SOLUTION
CARSON CITY, March 3 " Sen. Neal and a distinguished scientist offered a viable solution to Nevada's and the nation's nuclear waste dilemma. Some people have been opposing for so long that they can do nothing else.
For veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal capital correspondent Ed Vogel's report on the state senate hearing, go to http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/1999/Mar-04-Thu-1999/news/10728013.html
For otherwise unreported details and commentary, read the March 7, 1999, installment of Barbwire by Barbano from the Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune at http://www.nevadalabor.com/barbwire/barbcontents.html
You will find additional details on Sen. Neal's nuclear waste positions elsewhere on this site.
Date: Tuesday, March 2, 1999 at 02:54:29
PROBLEM SOLVED? NEAL RESOLUTION SUPPORTS SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH ON HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE
*Sen. Neal explains misconceptions about nuclear waste resolution, SJR 6
*Hearing before state senate committee on March 3, 1999
*Neal confirms dates for casino tax bill hearings
CARSON CITY " State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, today issued a statement to clear up misconceptions regarding Senate Joint Resolution 6, his measure which supports a potential new scientific solution to the controversial issue of high-level nuclear waste. A senate committee hears the proposal Wednesday.
"The now-obsolete summary placed on the first draft last year has caused some confusion," Neal said.
"The modified resolution actually introduced is quite different from the working title," he added. (http://www.leg.state.nv.us/70th/bills/SJR/SJR6.html)
The final SJR6 text concludes "that the members of the Nevada Legislature do hereby support and desire to cooperate with the Department of Energy while it researches the safety requirements for the transmutation and storage of high-level nuclear waste in a repository located in the state of Nevada."
"Transmutation is an exciting new technology which appears to offer very real potential of resolving this divisive issue once and for all," Neal said.
"The process is called accelerator-driven transmutation technology," the Las Vegas Sun reported on Dec. 7, 1998. (http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/1998/dec/07/508108924.html)
"It can reduce the waste at the reactor sites and also can produce enough heat to generate steam to turn a turbine and produce electricity...
"The idea of shrinking 70,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste down to a couple hundred pounds sounds too good to be true," longtime nuclear energy reporter Mary Manning wrote. "For a handful of physicists at UNLV, however, reducing thousands of tons of radioactive materials to 230 pounds makes sense. It would put an end to the federal government's need for a nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain or anywhere else," the Sun reported.
The process works by bombarding radioactive material with neutrons which shrink it and render it harmless. Manning's article was reprinted by other Nevada newspapers.
Scientists at the Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies at UNLV are seeking support to develop transmutation as "a contingency plan if Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, fails to meet scientific tests that would qualify it as the nation's repository for high-level nuclear waste," the Sun noted.
"I think they deserve legislative support" Neal said.
"Installation of a full transmutation facility needs to be reviewed for location at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site which is already home to untold amounts of high-level waste. Last month, Ms. Manning reported that test site management has lost the location of an unknown number of buried nuclear fuel rods from old tests," the senate's senior Democrat added.
"Congress cut a $15 million research request down to $4 million in the 1999 budget. Our bipartisan congressional delegation needs to work at restoring that money. Backing this project means doing well by doing good " highly paid, high-tech new jobs for Nevada workers focused on solving one of the nation's most vexing problems," Neal said.
"Transmutation at the minimum seems to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the need to transport waste across the country to a central location. Once the technology is developed, processing can be done within the geographical region producing the waste," the 26-year lawmaker noted.
SJR6 will receive a hearing before the State Senate Committee on Human Resources and Facilities at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, in legislative hearing room 2135. Anyone with an Internet capable computer may listen to the proceedings at the legislature's website, www.leg.state.nv.us/
"Contrary to some typifications, my position on this issue has been consistent," Neal said.
"I have neither endorsed nor worked to bring to Nevada nuclear waste created elsewhere. I have always shared the transportation concerns expressed by so many others. However, I have been among the few to say that should Nevada run out of legal options, the state should be well paid for the imposition of any storage," Neal said. SJR6 calls for legislative consideration of compensation.
"The Nevada Legislature in the past has encouraged just such use of the test site," Neal noted.
In 1985, then-Gov. Richard Bryan signed into law Senate Bill 67, "authorizing the governor to negotiate for an agreement with the United States concerning disposal of (high level radioactive) waste."
It unanimously passed the assembly with one member absent (the late Dr. Marvin Sedway, D-Las Vegas). It passed the senate unanimously. At that time, the upper house included Sue Wagner, Bill Raggio and Randolph Townsend, all R-Reno; Thomas R.C. "Spike" Wilson, D-Reno; Alan Glover, D-Carson City; Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden; Ann O'Connell and Ray Rawson, both R-Las Vegas; Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora; and Ray Shaffer, D-Las Vegas.
In 1975, Assembly Joint Resolution No. 15 passed both houses and was signed by then-Gov. Mike O'Callaghan. It urged the federal government "to choose the Nevada Test Site for the storage and processing of nuclear material." Among the "yes" votes were senators Richard Bryan, D-Las Vegas, Carl Dodge, R-Fallon, Warren "Snowy" Monroe, D-Elko, and Gary Sheerin, D-Carson City. In the assembly, Speaker Keith Ashworth, D-Las Vegas, supported the measure, as did assemblymembers Joe Dini, D-Yerington, Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, Bob Price, D-North Las Vegas and Alan Glover, D-Carson City.
CASINO TAX HEARING SCHEDULE CONFIRMED--Separately, Sen. Neal confirmed that hearings on two of his major casino taxation bills have been set for next week. On Tuesday, March 9, at 2:00 p.m., the State Senate Committee on Taxation will review SB 88, a measure to increase the gross gaming tax on the largest casinos. The hearing will begin at 2:00 p.m. in legislative hearing room 2135. On Thursday, March 11, at 2:00 p.m., the same committee will hear SB 90, Neal's proposal to repeal casino mogul Steve Wynn's tax break for art collectors at the expense of school children. Some press reports erroneously listed the taxation committee hearings as scheduled for this week.
ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE, COURTESY OF NEVADA GOP NEWS & VIEWS, 3-1-99
GOP Caucus Ponders Yucca Benefits
"At a meeting in Carson City two weeks ago, members of the Nevada Republican Rural Caucus voted to draft a position paper supporting the need to get substantial benefits in return for storing the nation's nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The group contends the nuclear *suppository* is destined for Nevada anyway, so the state ought to begin negotiating appropriate compensation. At the annual Churchill County Lincoln Day dinner this weekend, keynote speaker Bruce James suggested three possible items the state might consider demanding if the repository is sited here: (1) $1 billion a year for 50 years to the state's university system to develop the technology necessary to *transmutate* the waste back to its harmless origins. Nevada's university system would quickly become one of the top research institutions in the world; (2) Require the feds to give back substantial amounts of land it currently owns in the state (the feds own about 87% of Nevada land) which could be sold by individual counties for private investment; and (3) Pay half of the combined property taxes owed by Nevadans each year, thus dramatically reducing the tax burden of residents." (No emphasis added. From "GOP News &Views," the Internet newsletter of the Nevada Republican Liberty Caucus; Chuck Muth, Chairman; email@example.com)
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 at 02:04:12
NEAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM ASSASSINATED, BUT NEVER SAY DIE.
Petitions mean never having to say you're sorry
CARSON CITY, Feb. 23 --- Sen. Neal's bill to take casinos out of politics was killed in the Senate Government Affairs Committee last week. Read all about it by going to www.nevadalabor.com and clicking on the Barbwire icon. Go to the Feb. 21 installment entitled "Darth beetles, chopped liver and Casinos Out of Politics."
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. At the Feb. 17 hearing, heavyweight representatives of the gambling-industrial complex were joined by the entire hierarchy of the Las Vegas Culinary Union and the incoming head of the Nevada AFL-CIO acting in concert to kill the bill.
Apparently intimidated by the strange bedfellows, none of the groups which have for years clamored for campaign finance reform showed up to testify in support of the most sweeping measure ever introduced on the subject. The only organization to speak for Senate Bill 86 was Casinos Out of Politics (COP), headed by Neal98 campaign manager Andrew Barbano. Former Common Cause Nevada Chair Patricia Fladager also testified in favor of the proposal which would emulate New Jersey gambling control law and Illinois liquor control law. Both prohibit campaign contributions by licensees. Courts long ago held such statutes constitutional.
THE AWFUL TRUTH. Gambling's control of Nevada politics was amply demonstrated last Friday. A joint meeting of the state senate and assembly judiciary committees heard a presentation by former State Sen. Mike Sloan, D-Las Vegas, now a Vice-president of Circus Circus. Mr. Sloan brought an accountant with him to show how unprofitable the casino industry has become. They presented such a dismal case that, to listen to them, Las Vegas now stands on the verge of closing. Tearful crocodiles and other expensively-suited reptiles were seen in the back of the room.
YOU'RE GONNA PAY. Sloan effectively put in place the second piece of the "tax reform" puzzle advanced by Gov. Kenny Guinn during his January state of the state address. (See "Gov. Guinn: Dudley Do-Right defrocked as Nowhere Man" at http://www.nevadalabor.com/barbwire/barbarchive/barb1-24-99.html)
The governor's handlers have hinted at increased property taxes since Guinn's gloomy speech. Sloan last Friday gave some serious hints as to where state policy may be moving. He said that if new property taxes are imposed, they should be spread among all types of business, not just gambling, with businesses paying higher rates than homeowners.
CONSTITUTIONAL CONTRADICTION. Apparently, no one remembered Article 10, Section 1, of the Nevada Constitution which provides for a "uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation." Translation: without a constitutional amendment, a four year process in Nevada, residential property taxes must go up if business taxes rise.
HEADS, I WIN. TAILS, YOU LOSE. However, casinos may apply for property tax reductions based on their profitability, a luxury which homeowners don't enjoy. The Reno Hilton, John Ascuaga's Sparks Nugget and several other northwestern Nevada gambling enterprises won property tax reductions in the past several years after their profits failed to meet projections.
THE FIRE NEXT TIME. All of this will add fuel to a smoldering taxpayer revolt and assist Sen. Neal in making good his threat to take tax fairness to the voters with a statewide petition next year.
THE NEXT BATTLEGROUND: Senate Bill 88, Sen. Neal's measure to increase the gross gaming tax on the largest, most obscenely profitable casinos, will be heard on Tuesday, March 9, at 2:00 p.m. before the Senate Committee on Taxation in Room 2135 at the legislative building in Carson City. Look for information leading up to the hearing at a new Casinos Out of Politics section coming soon to www.NevadaLabor.com.
Breaking news may be posted at any hour at the Neal "bulletins" site, right here. Stay tuned and tell your friends.
Date: Tuesday, February 16, 1999 at 04:00:05
NEAL TRIES TO TAKE CASINOS OUT OF POLITICS
CARSON CITY, Feb. 17 --- On Wednesday, the Nevada State Senate Committee on Government Affairs will hear Senate Bill 86 (http://www.leg.state.nv.us/70th/Reports/history.cfm?ID=1981), Sen. Neal's proposal to implement New Jersey's longtime ban on casino control of the political process. (2:00 p.m. PST, Room 2149, Nevada Legislative Building, Carson City)
On Friday, the same committee will hear SB 91, Sen. Neal's measure to allow candidates to pay a modest fee to place 400-word statements on sample ballots and cut the exorbitant cost of campaign advertising. (Same place, but flexible time. The committee convenes upon Friday adjournment of the senate floor session.)
If you can't attend, here's how to contact your assembly and senate members.
You may phone your lawmakers locally at (775) 687-5545 in northwestern Nevada or (702) 384-2225 in the Las Vegas area. Here are three statewide toll-free numbers: (800) 978-2878; 995-9080; 992-0973. Contact them as many times as you can. Please ask your friends and relatives to the same.
The Senate Government Affairs Committee is chaired by Ann O'Connell, R-Las Vegas (firstname.lastname@example.org). Vice-chair is Bill Raggio, R-Reno (email@example.com). Other committee members are Jon Porter, R-Boulder City (firstname.lastname@example.org); Bill O'Donnell, R-Las Vegas (email@example.com); Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas (firstname.lastname@example.org); Sen. Neal, D-North Las Vegas (email@example.com); and Terry Care, D-Las Vegas (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You may listen to the proceedings via RealPlayer on the web at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/audio/index.htm
If politics is your idea of bloodsport, and taking out Numero Uno is your idea of red meat, then this hearing is as serious as the game gets.
Tune in, turn online and tell a friend.
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 at 02:11:38
NEAL OPENS SIX-PACK ON SENATE FLOOR
CARSON CITY, Feb. 3 " Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, brings an explosive six-pack of major legislation onto the Nevada State Senate floor today.
Neal, senior Democrat in the upper house, will introduce his much-discussed gambling package which raises the industry's taxes while reducing its political influence.
One measure would hike the gross gaming tax on the state's largest, most profitable casinos. Nevada's gaming tax has not been increased since 1987. Neal says that the industry should pay a fair share for the growth it causes and from which it is the principal beneficiary. Nevada clubs pay the lowest levies in the nation.
The current three-tiered taxing system would have four levels under Neal's proposal. The 26-year lawmaker would protect smaller operations from any increase. Gambling operations grossing less than $50,000 per month would continue to pay three percent. Casinos generating between $50,000 and $134,000 per month would remain at four percent. The 12 year-old top rate of 6.25 percent would continue to apply to those grossing from $134,000 to $1 million per month. The highest volume enterprises grossing more than $1 million monthly would be subject to the new rate of 8.25 percent.
Casinos in other areas pay as much as 34 percent for the privilege of holding a gaming license. Atlantic City operations pay New Jersey eight percent on gross revenues with an additional 1.25 percent earmarked for a community reinvestment program.
Another Neal proposal would make it illegal for gambling interests to contribute money to candidates or to lobby governments. Neal's bill is patterned after New Jersey's prohibition enacted more than 20 years ago.
It withstood constitutional scrutiny when the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal. (See "The Jersey Way" by Steve Sebelius which recently appeared in Las Vegas City Life and the Reno News & Review, http://lvcitylife.com/news/stories/99012103n.html/)
Two other Neal bills would close industry loopholes which became law over his opposition in 1997. One would eliminate the sales and use tax break on high-priced works of art passed at the behest of Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn. Last year, Neal successfully blocked Wynn's attempt to take the tax break and still charge admission to children whose schools would lose millions to Wynn's corporate art collections. Wynn is suing the Nevada Tax Commission over the issue.
Neal also proposes to close another loophole whereby casinos deduct the face value of lucky bucks coupons and complimentary chips from their state gaming taxes, a de facto license to print money.
Another Neal bill is designed to wean candidates away from the need to chase big dollars for advertising. He proposes to allow candidates to provide 400-word statements for inclusion on sample ballots. Candidates would pay to cover printing cost.
Neal's sixth measure scheduled for introduction today would mandate that Nevada's Public Utilities Commission use unclaimed property to help pay the utility bills of indigent consumers. He has other legislation in the pipeline to expand the size of the Las Vegas City Council.
For more details on Sen. Neal's positions on gaming and taxation, go to http://www.neal98.org/posit1.html/
Testifying before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in Las Vegas last Nov. 10, Neal called gaming a "parasitic business."
"If gaming does not have a host outside of its jurisdiction, it turns and devours its own community," Neal said.
"The people should control gaming, and gaming should not control the people," he added.
Neal considers his proposals as insurance against federal taxation. "The public pays for the costs of addiction and other gambling-related problems. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission will see this and propose appropriate taxation," Neal noted last year during his gubernatorial campaign.
"An increase in the gross gaming tax on the largest Nevada casinos is the best preventive medicine the industry can take. Otherwise, the federal government will come calling and take our fair share to Washington," he asserted.
Neal contends that gaming actually pays little or nothing in state and local taxes, as all such levies are fully deductible on federal income tax returns. Neal received no casino support in his campaign for governor.
The Silver State has led the nation in growth throughout the decade but currently faces a serious shortfall in revenues which Neal attributes to the gambling industry not carrying its weight.
In its February edition, the conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute's "Nevada Journal" will publish a summary of taxes and fees which have increased since 1981.
Date: Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 23:41:31
SEN. NEAL NAMED TO LAS VEGAS NEWSPAPER'S LIST OF 10 LOCAL HEROES
State senator wages lonely battles to level playing field
Joe Neal has been a state senator for 26 years, but 1998 may have been his busiest yet as a political leader. Neal, 63, took an unsuccessful shot at the Democratic nomination for governor, losing in the primary to Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones. But the main issue he raised during his campaign--that casinos should contribute more to the community--continues to reverberate.
Neal also battled Steve Wynn over an art tax break designed specifically to benefit the Mirage Resorts chairman and his Bellagio art gallery. Neal, who opposed the bill in the 1997 legislative session, was able to declare at least a temporary victory when the Nevada Tax Commission ruled that if Wynn wants the tax breaks, he must provide 20 hours a week of free public viewing. Wynn has since filed a lawsuit to get the commission's ruling overturned.
Neal also has been involved in the creation of a civilian review board for Metro Police, a process started with the passage of a Neal-sponsored bill in 1997.
Neal is that rare Nevada legislator who feels beholden to no one except his constituents. The legislation he supports is intended to "aid in the progress of people." In 1981, Neal was the prime sponsor of a bill requiring hotels to install sprinklers to prevent towering infernos like the tragic MGM and Las Vegas Hilton fires of 1980 and '81. "That was a big fight," he says.
In the 1999 Legislature, which convenes in February, Neal plans to push four bills to help level the playing field in Nevada:
*Increase the gross gaming tax, which is the lowest in the nation and hasn't changed since 1987.
*Repeal a casino chip tax break.
*Repeal Wynn's art tax break. "It doesn't do anything to aid and advance Nevada," Neal says. "It does a lot for Steve Wynn and the Bellagio, but as for the people themselves, I don't think it does anything."
*Make it illegal for casinos to contribute money to candidates (patterned after the law in New Jersey).
While the gaming industry has the most powerful lobby in Carson City, Neal is confident his bills will at least get a hearing. "The issues will be heard," he says. "I don't think any [committee] chairman would be willing to sit on something like this, considering we've had so much discussion on it within the past year."
Neal also will be a constant pain in the rear for gaming and other special interests on two key Senate committees, Finance and Taxation. Neal, the state's first black state senator, says substantial progress has been made on racial issues since he came to Nevada as a teenager in 1954 and got involved in civil rights causes in the '60s. But Neal isn't shy about raising his voice if he sees racial injustice.
"We in the black community don't go along just to get along," he says. "If need be, we will bring people to task."
From "Local Heroes" by Geoff Schumacher, Managing Editor, City Life, the Las Vegas alternative weekly newspaper, 10-17-98.
Sen. Neal stands in prestigious company. To learn who else made the top 10 and honorable mention lists, go to http://lvcitylife.com/news/stories/98121701n.html/ Also read the introduction entitled "Scorched Earth: the Crusaders," also by Mr. Schumacher at http://lvcitylife.com/views/stories/98121704v.html
Date: Friday, December 18, 1998 at 14:58:45
KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS
LAS VEGAS hadn't had a snowfall in years until last Sunday. Amid the storm, an awestruck grandson of State Sen. Joe Neal rushed into the house and screeched "Grandpa! Grandpa! Rice is falling outside on the car!"
From Rollan Melton's column in the Reno Gazette-Journal, 12-10-98.
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 at 01:56:49
NEAL RESPONDS TO CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK GUEST EDITORIAL
Editors --- Carson City Nevada Appeal, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada Policy Research Institute Nevada Journal
I would appreciate your correcting Ralph Heller's recent analysis of the 1999 Nevada Legislature with respect to my background. I worked my entire professional career in the private sector. In my younger days, I was employed in hotels and as a steelworker. I retired in 1994 after 25 years with Reynolds Electrical & Engineering Company, Inc., where I served as assistant to the general legal counsel.
The Nevada Policy Research Institute-sponsored article (entitled "How Unrepresentative Can A Legislature Get?") termed me a retired public employee. On the contrary, although retired from the private sector, I remain an active public employee. I am now in my 27th year as a state senator and in the fall of 1999, I will return to the Community College of Southern Nevada to teach constitutional democracy for a fourth time.
Very truly yours,
Sen. Joseph M. Neal, Jr.
D-Clark County Dist. 4
Date: Tuesday, December 8, 1998 at 01:32:42
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Dec. 8 " Sen. Neal's committee assignments for the legislative session beginning Feb. 1, 1999, have now been finalized. In addition to the most powerful committee in the legislature, Senate Finance, and the critical Senate Committee on Taxation, Sen. Neal will also sit on Government Affairs. The lineup represents probably the strongest committee array of his entire 26-year career. It also marks another milestone: Government Affairs was the sole standing committee upon which Sen. Neal had never sat. He now ascends into the rarified air of the very few to have served on each and every one.
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998 at 01:11:35
NEAL BIG WINNER IN POWERFUL LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS
CARSON CITY, Nov. 27 " (By Ed Vogel, Las Vegas Review-Journal Capital Bureau) " Although Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, was a loser in the Democratic primary for governor, he is one of the bigger winners in committee assignments.
(Minority Leader Dina) Titus, D-Las Vegas, named Neal to serve on the Senate Finance and Taxation committees.
"He is our senior member," said Titus about Neal, a 26-year Senate veteran. "We needed someone with experience."
As a Taxation Committee member, Neal will have an opportunity to push for a gaming tax increase and for a repeal of the law that gives wealthy art collectors like Mirage Resorts, Inc., Chairman Steve Wynn an opportunity for a sales tax exemption, according to Titus.
He raised the tax issues during his gubernatorial campaign.
You may read the full article at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/1998/Nov-28-Sat-1998/news/10124940.html
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998 at 01:01:16
JOE NEAL AND BARRY GOLDWATER
SPARKS, Nov. 20 " Reno television reporter Dennis Myers is also a longtime writer for various Nevada print publications. In his Nov. 20 column in the Daily Sparks Tribune, Myers wrote:
"The Nevada Democratic Party is about as listless and detached from a dedication to issues as a lower form of plant life. Nothing would have done it more good than a polarizing, dedicated economic populist forcing new issues into the state's dialogue and widening the allowable circles of discourse, laying the groundwork for future Democratic growth " and victories. It would have also been incredibly beneficial to the state. Terrified by the prospect, state and party leaders lured (Las Vegas Mayor Jan) Jones into the (Democratic primary) race against (State Sen. Joe) Neal," Myers stated.
"Far from rejuvenating the race, Jones' entry drained it of dynamism. She quickly shifted the emphasis of the campaign from Neal's drive for tax equity to safer middle class issues like education and growth. The distinction between Republican and Democrat in the governor's race vanished...Harry Truman said it best when he told Democrats that if you give the public a choice between two conservatives, they'll always go for the real thing," Myers noted.
"Democrats constantly try to act like Republicans. It seldom happens the other way around. And when Democratic candidates get too interested in traditionally Democratic issues, party leaders get worried. This year, when Jones was insistent that she would not run for governor and Sen. Neal appeared to be the party nominee, the state appeared headed for a dramatic clash on issues between a populist Democrat and an establishment Republican.
"Neal, short of an act of God, would have lost. But losing races serve their purpose. Barry Goldwater in losing his presidential race injected more ideas into the nation's political life that most presidential candidates " or even some presidents. I suspect when people have forgotten Eisenhower or Carter, they'll still remember Goldwater. His loss also rescued the Republican Party from drift (due to) the avoidance of issues. " in those days, Republicans had been in the habit of trying to act like Democrats. To this day Goldwater's legacy is all around us," Myers concluded.
If there is a more suitable exclamation point to Campaign '98, we have not seen it.
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998 at 00:50:48
NEAL IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT, BLASTS GAMING AS "PARASITIC"
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 10) " Testifying before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, "State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, called gaming a 'parasitic business' that needs a host.
"'If gaming does not have a host outside of its jurisdiction, it turns and devours its own community,' he said.
"Neal said gaming wields too much power over the people of Nevada and needs to be removed from the political process.
"'The people should control gaming, and gaming should not control the people,' he said."
In the 1999 legislative session, Sen. Neal will introduce a bill to remove gambling's ability to influence politics. It will be similar to what New Jersey has had in place since the industry was legalized there in the 1970s.
You may read the full story in the November 11 Las Vegas Sun at http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/1998/nov/11/507993257.html
NEAL ASKS LAS VEGAS SUN FOR CORRECTION
In another Nov. 11 article, the Sun misquoted Sen. Neal's testimony before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.
"The Sun attributed to me a statement that I have 'never seen blacks working in hotels in the 44 years I've worked here,'" Neal says.
"I never said that. In my early days, I worked in Las Vegas hotels myself," the 26-year lawmaker added.
"I did remark that the impending visit of the commission has seemed to spur hiring of African-American casino workers, especially dealers," Neal said.
Neal has asked the newspaper to publish a correction.
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 1998 at 15:14:23
NEAL WINS SEAT ON MOST POWERFUL COMMITTEE IN LEGISLATURE
CARSON CITY (Nov. 10) " Sen. Neal has won a seat on the Nevada State Senate Finance Committee for the new session beginning February 1, 1999. It marks the second time in his 26-year career that he will sit on the legislature's most powerful body.
Senate finance is the bottleneck through which all money bills must pass and has always been rated as the most difficult obstacle for any legislation. Its power geometrically increases next year, when a session will for the first time work under a 120-day limit because of a state constitutional amendment enacted by Nevada voters on Nov. 3.
Other Democrats on the committee will be Sens. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, and Bernice Mathews, D-Reno.
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 1998 at 14:23:34
NEAL IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT BEFORE FEDERAL GAMBLING BODY
North Las Vegas Democrat testifies Tuesday afternoon
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 10) " State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, will appear before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission Tuesday afternoon at the MGM Grand Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
He will be part of a panel addressing gambling and employment issues. Other members of the panel are State Sen.-elect Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, Culinary union researcher Courtney Alexander and venture capitalist Otis Harris.
For the 1999 legislative session, he has requested a bill increasing by two percent the gross gaming tax on Nevada's largest casinos. He will also introduce legislation similar to New Jersey which prohibits the privileged gambling industry from politically influencing state government.
Neal has been a longtime critic of Nevada's predominant industry. He asserts that the time is long past for the state's largest, most successful gambling enterprises to pay a fair share toward mitigating the impacts of growth which they foster and from which they profit.
Neal's panel will start as close to 1:50 p.m. as possible in the MGM Grand Casino and Conference Center, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
Neal named to replace casino mogul Steve Wynn before gambling panel by Jeff German, Las Vegas Sun, 3 Nov. 1998 [ http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/1998/nov/03/507954735.html ]
For complete information on gaming tax issues and a review of tax loopholes and subsidies granted to the Nevada gambling industry, go to http://www.Neal98.org
OTHER RECENT ISSUES IN WHICH SEN. NEAL HAS BEEN INVOLVED :
Neal fights for fair redistricting of Las Vegas city council wards by Ed Koch, Las Vegas Sun, 8 Nov. 1998 [ http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/1998/nov/08/507977936.html ]
"No voters in the city of Las Vegas have been ping-ponged around more in the redistricting process than those living in old West Las Vegas, the predominantly black -- and economically disadvantaged -- part of town," Koch reported.
Police panel gives citizen review board vote of approval by Joe Schoenmann, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3 Nov. 1998 [ http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/1998/Nov-03-Tue-1998/news/8524025.html ]
Watch this space for late-breaking news any hour of the day or night. Keep us posted from wherever your are.
JOE NEAL A FAIR DEAL FOR NEVADA
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