At the beginning of this legislative session, hundreds of educators in red scarves and face coverings were back in Carson City, lining both sides of the street from the Legislative building to the Capitol to bring attention to education funding. After sustaining difficult cuts last summer, K12 public education is threatened with more devastating hits. Early literacy supports are proposed for a $33 million cut in the next biennium, and $156 million in cuts to class size reduction means more overcrowded classrooms even with the largest class sizes in the nation now. While federal funding from the CARES Acts and the American Rescue Plan will certainly help Nevada weather the crisis over the next couple of years, we know Nevada faces a chronic funding shortage. In public education, Nevada consistently ranks near the bottom of states in per-pupil funding. That is why we have been asking legislators to be brave and to be bold to secure new revenue.
The emerging economy increasingly moving to digital format has created a loophole in sales tax, which is only applied to the purchase of physical products. We know technology companies are minting new millionaires every day, oftentimes disrupting industries and exploiting these type of tax loopholes. At the same time, we know sales tax is one of the main revenue streams for K12 public education in Nevada.
Educators have been calling on our leaders to Invest in Nevada for years, and now is the time to take bold steps to meet our state’s needs.
We need our leaders to have the courage to stand up and demand new and progressive revenue to move Nevada up from the bottom of the education funding lists. We believe our Legislature has the opportunity this Session to advance a package of revenue proposals, including SB346, to take a big and bold step in addressing our funding challenge.