April 27, 2017
Dear Reno Sparks NN Chamber of Commerce Member:
The Chamber has gone in a new direction, leaving many of you at the station. A similar thing occurred in Las Vegas and many members dropped their membership and joined a “real” Chamber of Commerce there. (www.realchamberofcommerce.com)
The Chamber here supported the bait and switch, never ending WC1 Sales Tax increase that threatens major retailers in Washoe County. The measure is legally flawed and chases buyers to neighboring counties. WC1 made Washoe’s sales tax the highest in the state. The statewide tax is 6.8%. Washoe is now 8.265%. Suddenly the news reports that the school district has a $40 million deficit (as administrators got massive raises!) and the skyrocketing enrollment was untrue.
Now they want more! AB 375 could raise sales tax again.
As I can explain, I believe this was the actual Chamber supporting WC1 and other taxes, not the Chamber’s PAC. Another affront is that most area government agencies, with our tax dollars, pay to belong to the Chamber. Taxpayer dollars to support or oppose a tax is wrong. I can’t help but wonder if it’s legal. What is the Chamber’s position on the AB 375 tax and other legislature tax bills? News reports also indicated another Chamber backed tax measure on car sales registration, what ever happened to that promise? DOA! That would have de-facto raised our taxes and choice options.
And have you looked at gas prices lately compared to Carson or Fernley? “Mr. Tray Abney, representing the Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce, said that the Chamber strongly supported the RTC-5 bill…” That’s the bill that has made Washoe’s gas tax about 40 cents higher than Carson and rising. It’s official, the tax goes up about 1.7 cents July first. I call that two cents as they don’t make a .7 coin. In recent memory has the Chamber ever opposed a tax measure?
I run www.RenoTaxRevolt.com and was on the Washoe County Opposition Drafting Committee. The WC1 violations are not only NRS 295 but Open Meeting Law and serious Nevada constitutional questions. Litigation has been filed and more is on the way!
During the election I was shocked to see the Pro-WC1 “SoS” paid group used 449 S. Virginia as their address. It seemed familiar and I soon learned that is the address for the Reno-Sparks-Northern Nevada Chamber! I visited and there was no separate “SoS” office. In fact the Chamber’s website hosted a grand opening of the “SoS” office there.
I thought the Chamber was a 501 c (6) non-profit?
Now the schools may be violating the letter and spirit of the tax with money going instead to administrators, their cars and grossly inflated spending without proper oversight. Administrators received raises (as predicted) of (in some cases) over 60% over the last 4 years as the school district experienced a reported $40 million deficit! Even if you supported WC1, this should be cause for concern.
I was shocked to see, in spite of the $30 to $40 million budget shortfall, the school’s CFO received a massive 40+% pay raise from$150,922.48 in 2012 to $207,896.01 in 2016. About $50,000 more than his Washoe County counterpart.
Wasn’t his boss paying attention? Well, Peter B Etchart, Chief Operations Officer, Washoe County School District, received over $82,000 in raises in just 4 years! 2013= $132,771.64 and by 2016 it was $215,015.66. If the Chamber went to great lengths to support the school district spending and taxes, they should now be standing up in protest of any waste or abuse!
As a retired military member who fought for our free speech rights, myself and others would very much like to meet with you and discuss these tax issues. Let’s stop this never ending tax tax tax effort. Tell the Chamber if you are not happy with their direction and re-consider your membership.
Jeff Church, Concerned Citizen
800 554 9519