Nevada: Coalition collects 100K signatures to end tax
RENO, Nev. – Doug Bennett, owner of Bennett Medical Services, is leading a grueling process to exempt DME from Nevada’s state sales tax.
Bennett leads the “Alliance to Stop Taxes on the Sick & Dying,” a coalition of HME providers that gathered more than 100,000 signatures to put the issue to a vote in November.
Getting to this point has been a process, Bennett says.
After initially using volunteers and staff to gather signatures at shopping centers and trade shows, the coalition then put up PAC money to hire signature gatherers through temp agencies and paid them based on the number of verifiable signatures they collected.
To get the issue on the ballot in November, the coalition had to collect 10% of the total votes cast in the most recent general election, equally from each of the state’s four congressional districts.
“Near the end, we started going door to door, because we knew that when we knocked on the door, there was a registered voter inside,” said Bennett.
The process took nine months. Of the 100,000 signatures collected, 77,000 were considered verifiable, 20,000 more than required.
“We surveyed our signature gatherers and asked, ‘Of those that understood what this was about, how many of them said, ‘No?’” he said. “And uniformly, the answer was less than 1%.”
Of course, the coalition’s not done. The next step is getting people to vote. While the coalition is still developing its campaign strategy, it’s already laid the foundation with the petition, as well TV and radio appearances.
However, even if the majority of voters vote “Yes on Question 4,” the law stipulates that the measure must pass two election cycles for it to go into effect, says Julia Humphrey, operations manager at Reno, Nev.-based Accellence Home Medical.
“Unless the state legislature decides that the public has voted and they pass it into law,” she said. hme