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Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative: Synopsis - Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce

2015 ACE: Award of Excellence

As a Chamber of Commerce, it is our responsibility to protect our members from flawed initiatives and promote a healthy climate where businesses can grow and thrive. Our leadership role in the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative is a government affairs endeavor developed in response to an initiative petition that was circulated by the Nevada Teachers’ Union proposing a 2 percent tax on business revenues. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce was a leader in the effort to build a strong, statewide coalition of businesses, associations and individuals committed to protecting Nevada’s still recovering economy from the deeply flawed measure. Voters would decide the fate of the tax in the November General Election. The Chamber partnered with the Nevada Resort Association, the Nevada Mining Association and the Retail Association of Nevada to create the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative.


Date: August 10, 2015
Organization: Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Website: http://www.lvchamber.com
City: Las Vegas, NV
Community Peer Group: Metro Cities
Revenue Category: $2,000,001 and up

Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative: Synopsis - Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce

Synopsis:

As a Chamber of Commerce, it is our responsibility to protect our members from flawed initiatives and promote a healthy climate where businesses can grow and thrive. Our leadership role in the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative is a government affairs endeavor developed in response to an initiative petition that was circulated by the Nevada Teachers’ Union proposing a 2 percent tax on business revenues. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce was a leader in the effort to build a strong, statewide coalition of businesses, associations and individuals committed to protecting Nevada’s still recovering economy from the deeply flawed measure. Voters would decide the fate of the tax in the November General Election. The Chamber partnered with the Nevada Resort Association, the Nevada Mining Association and the Retail Association of Nevada to create the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative.

While the Coalition was not a revenue generating program for the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s day-to-day operations, it was a fundraising- and collaboration-intensive effort. The Chamber’s involvement generated more than $2 million in political action committee contributions and encouraged Chamber members to make large and small contributions toward the effort. In total, the Chamber brought in nearly $2.2 million in direct and in-kind contributions. Participation in the coalition was labor-intensive and included a full time fundraiser, grassroots meetings and strategy sessions for Chamber staff and members.

The overall goal was to ensure the defeat of the margin tax--also known as Question 3--and to make sure that the measure failed by a wide enough margin to deter similarly destructive tax propositions in the future. The Chamber and its partners succeeded in defeating the margin tax, capturing 79 percent of the vote. Further, the Chamber and other principal organizations involved in the coalition maintained their credibility and protected Nevada businesses and consumers from this dangerous tax initiative.

The Coalition demonstrates the power of a Chamber of Commerce taking a leadership role in bringing individuals and businesses together for a common cause. The Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax was successful because of the variety of organizations that were engaged. These organizations were joined together by a commitment of time and resources to defeat the margin tax. Most importantly, the Chamber exemplified the spirit of cooperation by working with diverse partners, including trade unions, to ensure Nevada voters were educated on the flaws of the initiative and that they voted against the margin tax in Election Day.

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