Judge sends legislators a simple message: “You can’t pull fast ones”
In a victory for Nevada small businesses, District Court Judge James Todd Russell ruled September 21 that the Legislature’s passage last year of Senate Bills 551 and 543 were unconstitutional.
SB 551 revoked the scheduled payroll tax deduction that was to have taken effect July 2019 and SB 543 boosted DMV fees. Both measures were signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak. In effect, they were tax increases, which require a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature, which neither measure had.
Senate Republican Leader James Settelmeyer quickly filed a lawsuit, Settelmeyer et al. v. State of Nevada et al., which NFIB, along with trucking, retailing, and auto dealer associations joined. More than a year later we have Judge Russell’s ruling vindicating the actions of NFIB and its partner groups.
“The small business community in Nevada is benefiting greatly from this ruling,” said NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned. “The legislation that was passed by Nevada’s Legislature last session included a devastating tax increase for small businesses. Nevada’s small business owners cite taxes as a top business problem and this legislation would have caused more harm than good.”
Added Nevada State Director Randi Thompson, “What Judge Russell did is uphold the rule of law requiring a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature to pass a tax increase. Imagine that. His decision is impactful for sending a simple message that lawmakers should take to heart: You can’t pull fast ones.”
Defendants plan to appeal Judge Russell’s ruling, and NFIB will be there to engage every step of the way.
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