AP NEWS

Nevada bill aims to divert pot tax money to education fund

May 15, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada bill introduced Tuesday aims to boost education funding by redirecting money from a marijuana sales tax.

The legislation proposes rerouting funds from a 10% sales tax on retail marijuana sales away from the state’s rainy day fund and toward education funding. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said the change will redirect about $120 million to fund education over the biennium.

“We are committed now to making sure that that money goes directly into public education,” he said at a Tuesday news conference.

The proposed education funding bump comes days after the Clark County Education Association teachers union stepped up pressure on lawmakers by announcing that their members had authorized a strike during the next school year if demands for pay raises and resources are not met.

Gov. Steve Sisolak outlined a 3% cost of living pay increases for public school employees and a 2% merit pay raise in his proposed budget.

According to an estimate by the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, the governor’s budget is short $107.5 million in giving those increases while keeping per-pupil funding the same.

Sisolak issued a message to teachers during the Tuesday news conference: “We have not stopped working to get you the raises we promised @ the very beginning of the year.”

The proposed redirection of marijuana sales tax money comes one day after Senate Democrats rolled out a bill that aims to overhaul how Nevada allocates education funding.

Yet the funding formula bill spurred sharp criticism from the Nevada State Education Association, which released a statement saying “no new education funding plan will work without new and additional revenue.”