In today’s politically correct world, it is not always easy to find an elected official who is willing to stand up, make his voice known to his colleagues, and make comments such as, “With this vote, we are going to betray the very people that ushered us in, and they spoke very loud.” However, in a truly rare occasion, this journalist had the pleasure of not only uncovering the quote, but also has the privilege to reveal who made the statement. It takes a bold and bravely unafraid man with backbone to demonstrate his position and voice his concern for his constituents. Assemblyman Brent Jones, R-Nev. is that man.
The monumental statement was made by Jones as he addressed the Nevada Legislature before the vote on Senate Bill 483. In the moments leading up to the vote, the representative of District 35 reminded his fellow lawmakers that, during their campaigns, many of them had promised their constituents they would not increase taxes and would work to reduce government. However, his bold statements regarding the impending betrayal of this trust apparently fell on deaf ears. SB 483 was voted upon, passed, and subsequently signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval on June 10, 2015, according to Nevada Business. It is governmental business as usual. The passing of SB483 will raise $1.3 billion in new revenue to fund the state budget proposed by Governor Sandoval, which may have been the only justification for the members who voted for the bill.
The bold references made by Assemblyman Jones clearly indicate that he is not afraid of speaking up for the people and will not be bullied. As a successful entrepreneur, he is also impacted by the passing of SB483, and has been very vocal about why it should not have been passed. Not only does the new bill increase taxes and fees, thereby increasing the cost of doing business in Nevada, it also adds a new commerce tax – which is a far cry from the promises made by many of the legislators during their most recent campaigns to not raise or increase taxes. Jones was a ‘no’ vote on SB483.
Principal Components of the Senate Bill
- The Commerce Tax is a percentage tax based on earned revenues or gross receipts. It was not a part of the original bill, but was added by amendment. The commerce tax points to 26 business classifications and becomes relevant once a threshold of $4 million is surpassed.
- Modified Business Tax (MBT): Although the 2 percent rate for financial institutions will continue, it now also includes mining entities at 2 percent. The healthcare deduction will remain, yet the rate for general business’ MBT is increased to 1.475 percent.
- State Business License: The current $200 annual state license fee will be increased to $500 and will cover both domestic and foreign operations. Initially, the bill proposed an increase to $300 for any other business reduced to $200 by the amendment.
Other portions of the bill include an increase in the cigarette tax and wording that made sunset taxes permanent.
Jones is a vocal conservative, but instead of merely slinging mud on the wall, he has taken steps to demonstrate he is not afraid to make his bold position clear and has proposed a new model to govern the people of the state of Nevada. The standards of the proposed model have been laid out and summarized in the “Contract with Nevada,” and directly affect the lives of voters, providing a framework from which relevant policies and laws can be drafted. The passion and conviction Jones employed to create the Contract with Nevada is evident in the video below. A better perspective to his response to the 80 percent of Nevadans who voted ‘no’ to new business taxes is laid out on the website. On the site, the lawmaker appeals to Nevada residents to view and sign the contract. The ten pillars of the contract are listed below.
Contract With Nevada
- Taxpayer Relief Act:
- Immediately repeal the commerce tax or any other similar tax, such as a margins tax, gross receipts tax, value-added tax, or income tax. We fellow Nevadans do not want any tax that will require any form of governmental agency similar to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We support either a ballot initiative or will offer legislation that will repeal such a tax.
- True Education Reform Act:
- We acknowledge the need for the public school system, but understand that true reform of government-run education is necessary. Evaluation of existing educational programs for effectiveness and eliminating unsuccessful programs that are wasting needed resources is our priority. We shall implement proven successful methods from those states that rank the highest in education performance and work towards implementing those proven methods. Teachers are our biggest asset in education, and therefore, effective teachers shall be rewarded while ineffective teachers must be removed from the classroom. Further, we enthusiastically support the Educational Savings Accounts legislation passed in the 2015 legislative session. Accordingly, we will push to increase school choice and remove all barriers to a parent’s right to have the dollars follow the student, including those students already enrolled in private school or who are homeschooled.
- Stop Common Core Act:
- Remove the Common Core standards/curriculum and replace them with standards/curriculum that are free and have been proven successful, such as the pre-Common Core Massachusetts Standards. Also stop and prevent all data mining of our children and ensure that our children’s records remain confidential and are NOT shared without parental permission. And, finally, stop the mandatory SBAC testing and replace it with a proven testing method that actually measures a student’s academic progress.
- Law Enforcement Safety Act:
- Require law enforcement to implement the wearing of body cameras while on duty. This practice will ensure safety for law enforcement and the public. Unlawful acts committed by either criminals or law enforcement can be captured on camera and will be a deterrent, promote safety, and protect the innocent.
- Voter Integrity Act:
- We strongly support the right to vote and the integrity of that vote. We will require that all voters, at the polling place, shall be required to verify their identity with a government-issued photo ID card. Further, we will require an integrity and security audit of all electronic voting machines to ensure that there is no fraud or capability to commit fraud during the voting process.
- Health Care Reform Act:
- We believe that free market strategies always produce better and more efficient results that are less expensive to the consumer. Therefore, we believe that the government should NOT be in control of your health care decisions. We will support legislation to remove the Nevada Silver State Exchange or any similarly-mandated participation in government-run health care. We will work towards eliminating crippling government requirements on doctors to allow them to treat patients rather than fill out endless government paperwork, thereby lowering costs and increasing access and levels of care to all.
- Children’s Privacy Act:
- Enact legislation that all restrooms and athletic locker rooms in public schools shall be biologically gender-specific. Transgender and other students with gender confusion shall be accommodated with access to faculty and staff restroom and locker room facilities. All students deserve the right of dignity in the most private of situations. Unnecessary infringement on the rights of the majority is not the answer.
- Parental Verification Act:
- A parent has the right, duty, and responsibility to help their children make the best decisions possible to ensure the child’s healthy and happy development. Therefore, we shall enact a requirement that any medical procedure involving a minor under the age of 18 shall require, prior to the procedure, notification of the parents.
- Free Market Fairness and Transparency Act:
- Free market principles and transparent competition lead to innovation and offer equal opportunity. Government “no-bid” contracts and government-selected business subsidies disrupt these principles, stifle progress, and squelch opportunity while significantly increasing costs to government. We intend to end these unfair practices and open the government contracting process to any and all persons and businesses that meet truly reasonable standards, so that businesses can fairly compete in offering the best quality product or service at the best price.
- Second Amendment Adherence Act:
- We support the progress regarding Second Amendment rights that resulted from the 2015 Legislative session. We desire to continue to promote Second Amendment rights as guaranteed by our Constitution. Therefore, we shall support concealed carry rights to assure the same self-defense options are available to individuals on all public higher education campuses as those enjoyed on the public streets of Nevada.”
As a Southern Nevada business owner, Jones understands the blood, sweat, and tears involved in becoming a successful business owner, and takes it personally when the government proposes to continually grab more money in the form of taxes. During a guest appearance on The Will Edwards Show, the newly-elected legislator not only talked about his water business, but he also provided exceptional words of wisdom to other current or potential entrepreneurs. When asked about his political aspirations, Jones took the opportunity to compare politics with business ownership.
When Edwards asked Jones if he thought his job as an assemblyman was going to be hard, the answer reflected his common sense approach: “Like, if I run my business, I think logically and say ‘OK, this is the plan; let’s do it.’ When you’re in the Legislature, there are a lot of people with the same mindset as you, but with different ideas.” Jones added that the challenge is in getting everyone on the same page in order to form a consensus. As a business owner, Jones is no stranger to working with people; however, in the legislature, he is a part of the team and not the leader of the team as he is at the company he owns.
The Contract with Nevada provides Jones with the platform from which to launch his offensive against the governmental status quo of targeting businesses to fund bloated government budgets. Jones’ company employs individuals with families and they are all depending on him for their livelihood. More taxes and government restrictions limit his ability as a business owner to remain profitable. Therefore, Jones will continue to take a bold stand against big government which continues to impose higher taxes.
Opinion by Jireh Gibson
Nevada Business: SB 483: The Facts you Need
Contract With Nevada: Join The Contract with Nevada
Vote Brent Jones: Brent Jones Assemblyman Nevada Assembly 35
The Will Edwards Show: Brent Jones Interview
Inline Image Courtesy of Contract With Nevada