Remember when President Obama promised the ACA would lower costs and allow us to keep our providers? We all know how that turned out.
It seems the same thing happened with tax revenues from the state’s newest industry – Marijuana. When proponents were touting all the reasons we should legalize the industry, funding education was at the top of the list. A few years later, and with substantial collections in taxes from the industry, educators are back at the table asking for more funds for schools. So, what happened to the boatloads of money that was supposed to go to education? It appears that only a small portion of funds collected are directed to education, with the remainder being deposited in the general fund.
When marijuana was first legalized, part of the ballot Question 2 that allowed for the legalization specifically called for an excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales from large-scale cultivators and distributors. It was a condition of legalizing marijuana and those funds are currently being funneled into Nevada’s Distributive School Account (DSA), as they were always meant to. However, there is also an excise tax on retail marijuana sales, on top of regular sales tax, that doesn’t get put into the DSA, even though that was the original intention with the tax.
“The tax was first contemplated after Question 2 had already passed, during the governor’s 2017 State of the State address,” explained Daniel Honchariw, a senior policy analyst with the Nevada Policy Research Institute. “In the speech, Governor Sandoval indicated that he wanted this additional tax and those new revenues would also funnel directly towards education. Unfortunately, the 2017 Legislature, after they passed the 10 percent retail tax, failed to steer its revenues to the DSA due to a procedural technicality during the appropriations process. Instead,