By Thomas Mitchell
Many laws have what are known as sever-ability clauses that declare that if any part of the law is dinged by the courts the rest will stand.
Democrats in Carson City have come up with an anti-sever-ability clause. According to the morning paper, Senate Bill 551 cobbles together some education funding and a tax measure that would allow a portion of the modified business tax that is scheduled to be reduced to continue at the current rate, generating an additional $100 million in revenue over the next biennium.
The Legislative Counsel Bureau has opined that the tax rate can be maintained by a simple majority vote, even though the state Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses if a bill “creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form …” The state Senate is one Democrat shy of having a two-thirds lock.
The newspaper reports, “The bill also includes poison pill language should Republicans challenge the two-thirds requirement in court. A ruling against the tax extension or any other provision of the bill would invalidate it in its entirety. Senate Democrats framed the bill, introduced with only a digest Monday, as a choice between support for education or a ‘corporate tax cut.’”
This is obviously a ruse to get one Republican to vote for the bill so it passes with the constitutionally mandated two-thirds. As dirty a trick as one could devise.
“Using children to try and pass a tax increase? Pretty sad,” Republican Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer of Minden was quoted as saying.