CARSON CITY – Two Democrats seeking to succeed Steven Horsford in the 4th Senate district in Clark County disagreed today in a televised debate on a business margin tax sought by teachers to fund public education.
Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, currently representing District 17, and Katherine “Katie” Duncan, president and founder of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce, discussed the issues on the Face To Face television program in advance of the June 12 primary.
The candidates were asked if they support the initiative petition filed today by the teachers union to implement a business margins tax.
While supporting the margin tax in 2011, Atkinson said he would have to review the proposal filed today by the teachers union before he could support it. The lawmaker said he does believe Nevada’s tax base needs to be broadened, however.
“Do I think that we need to do something to broaden our tax base, absolutely we need to do that,” Atkinson said. “We’ve talked for years about it. Haven’t done a whole lot about it. And it’s time that we do something about it. We’ve talked to some very interested groups over the past few months that do indicate that they do want to be involved and they do want to do something about broadening our tax base.”
Duncan said she does not support the margin tax, and noted that Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is expected to come to the Legislature next year with a lottery proposal that will have the support of the gaming industry. Duncan said she will support Goodman’s efforts at the Legislature to raise money for public education.
The lottery will be gaming based, not a government-sponsored proposal, which is why the gaming industry will come on board this time, she said.
“I’m just supporting her education initiative,” Duncan said. “She has taken education as one of her primary focuses knowing that if we don’t up the bar on our education we lose all the new businesses that are looking to move into the state (that) are looking for an educated workforce.”
District 4 is dominated by Democrats and is a safe seat for the party as it faces Republican efforts to take control of the 21-member Senate.
Democrats now hold an 11-10 edge.
Horsford is seeking the new 4th Congressional Seat created as the result of the 2010 census. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, with more than 25,000 registered Democrats to just over 6,000 Republicans.
The winner will face Republican candidate Linda West Myers in November.