Nevada’s Question 3: ‘Margin Tax’ or ‘Education Initiative’

WHAT’S IN A NAME?: One of the most contentious and expensive campaigns in Nevada’s history does not involve any candidates and opposing sides can’t even settle on a name.

By Michael Chamberlain |

One of the most contentious and expensive campaigns in Nevada’s history will be decided over the next three weeks, a race that does not involve any candidates. The issue is Question 3.

The opposing sides on Question 3 cannot even agree on what to call this ballot initiative. Question 3 is termed the “Margin Tax” by opponents and “The Education Initiative” by supporters.

Question 3 would create a 2-percent tax on the gross revenue, minus a limited number of deductions, of businesses with revenue of $1 million or more in Nevada.

Nevada has no corporate income tax.

The money collected from this tax would be deposited in the state’s Distributed Schools Account, the fund into which Nevada’s General Fund revenue is deposited for distribution to public schools within the state.

The initiative is based upon a similar tax adopted by Texas in 2009, though with a number of differences. Most notably among the differences is that Nevada’s rate is 2 percent while Texas has tiers of rates for different industries ranging from 0.5 percent to 1 percent. Also, Nevada’s tax would apply to all income of companies with more than $1 million in revenue while Texas exempts the first $1 million from the tax.

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Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.