Coyote Vans
to Vegas

Dear NPRI,

Some time ago, C.I.S. noted how organized labor had changed its position completely on illegal immigration. They posted some articles telling how the Garment Workers Union was actually distributing printouts in Korean and Spanish telling sweatshop workers what not to tell the Immigration and Naturalization Services. Ditto for the sweatshop owners.

We see much the same thing here in Las Vegas. With its construction boom and phenomenal growth in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs, it has been picked as "Target No. 1" for growth in membership by the AFL-CIO, despite the fact that Nevada is a so-called right-to-work state. Mr. Sweeny himself now has a time share condo near the Strip.

We now have coyote vans coming directly from the border to Las Vegas. This year alone we’ve had apprehensions on all three major north-south roads and all were destined for the Las Vegas Valley.

In addition to English language commercials, we also have Spanish commercials with Latino actors pushing the "Join A Union" message.

Within the building trades, the organizing effort has been put in charge of Mr. James Rudicil. He has a full staff including a communications director and stresses, "There will always be someone in my office who speaks Spanish."

Our two mediocre newspapers (one pro-cheap labor and the other knee-jerk left wing) have combined editions on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. The banner local piece for the Labor Day edition featured many articles, interviews, etc. on the AFL-CIO organizing effort. Here is a particularly choice, direct quote from Mr. Rudicil, the AFL-CIO’s chief honcho in the organizing effort: "The campaign is reaching out to Hispanic workers by printing its literature in Spanish and offering translators at its open houses. We’ve made a dramatic departure from the past organizing practices; the campaign’s aim is to extend to all workers, including non citizens and illegal aliens, the opportunity to join a union. When any worker is exploited, that affects the whole industry."

In all fairness, the Teamsters Union (the strongest one in Las Vegas) does not sign up illegals and demands proof of citizenship or legal residency.

Ken Record
Las Vegas

By the end of 1996 union jobs represented only 10.2 percent of the U.S. private sector work force, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that today’s AFL-CIO leadership has decided to look for new members among the floodtide of immigrants conveniently admitted to the United States by the Immigration and Naturalization Service just in time to register to vote in last year’s elections. Has there ever been a time when the AFL-CIO and the Democratic Party were not scratching each other’s backs? —Ed.

What the Clark Sales Tax Would Really Mean

Dear NPRI,

In a letter to the Las Vegas Review- Journal on September 3, Arthur Eyler wrote about how little the quarter-cent tax increase would amount to for a $2 pack of cigarettes, a $12 bottle of liquor, a $16 tank of gas and a $40 dinner out on the town. Taking this narrow view, he is correct—the amount is minuscule.

But let’s look at the bigger picture. At the current rate of seven percent, Clark County residents are already paying one of the top 10 highest sales tax rates in the country. And according to recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Nevada ranks as the sixth highest taxed state per capita in the nation—surpassing even California. So much for the myth that Nevada is a low-tax state simply because we don’t have a state income tax. Hidden taxes—often disguised as "fees"—more than make up the difference.

Using Mr. Eyler’s examples, here are the total amounts of taxes—including payroll taxes, excise taxes, licensing "fees," state, local and federal taxes. etc.—built into the total cost of various products, as researched and reported by the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation:

• Cost of pack of cigarettes: 75 percent taxes, 25 percent all other costs

• Cost of a bottle of liquor: 72 percent taxes, 28 percent all other costs

• Cost of a gallon of gas: 54 percent taxes, 46 percent all other costs

• Cost of a restaurant meal: 27 percent taxes, 72 percent all other costs

Ronald Reagan was right 15 years ago and his words still hold true today: Americans—including Nevadans—aren’t taxed too little; government spends too much. Let’s see the county government and the water districts tighten their belts and set better spending priorities before coming to the voters yet again and asking for a "minuscule" quarter-cent tax increase.

Cutting spending first. Now that would be a real sign of true political courage and leadership.

Charles Muth
Las Vegas

As NPRI has pointed out many times, Nevada has compounded the tax burdens of its residents by piling taxes on top of taxes. We are one of only 23 states to levy county sales taxes on top of an already high state sales tax, and one of the only 13 states to levy county gasoline taxes on top of an already high state gasoline tax.

What we may need most of all in Nevada is a major daily newspaper willing to stop publishing government press releases long enough to share with its readers the comparative tax information coming from the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and other reliable sources. —Ed.


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