The AFL-CIO was for the margin tax before it was against it

I have previously reported that the AFL-CIO has flipped on the margin tax, now unwilling to back it after contributing to it and helping to write it.

So why the revisionist history? Why the attempt to make it seem as if the AFL-CIO, which helped finance the initiative, now finds it to be some alien creation?

Longtime AFL-CIO consultant Gail Tuzzolo told my producer, Dana Gentry, that the organization never supported the current iteration. That was before Karen Griffin, the spokeswoman for the opposition who was accompanied by Tuzzolo, appeared on "Ralston Reports."

And one union leader, painters' boss Jack Mallory openly spoke against the tax before the Democratic Party endorsed it and then posted this on the program's Facebook page this week: "When the AFL-CIO was involved in this the agreed upon language was effectively a net profits tax at 0.8% after the first $1 million. When the teachers changed the language that had been agreed upon to make it what it is today, the AFL-CIO removed themselves from the process."


Mallory actually also posted a great distillation of how many will feel about the proposal: "Our education system is grossly underfunded. Our teachers are grossly underpaid. Our classrooms and schools are falling apart. Our classrooms are grossly overcrowded. I believe that these things are true. I also believe that the proposed margin tax initiative doesn't do what its proponents say it will do. People need to understand what they're voting for. I do.... Needless to say I will not be voting for this initiative."

But let's be clear: The AFL-CIO only went south recently and was publicly supportive of the 2 percent rate in the current tax last year -- actually an arguably MORE onerous version as Danny Thompson described it in this April 3, 2013, clip from "Nevada Newsmakers."



The teachers often have been a labor island, but this has now become an extreme case of isolation. The AFL-CIO folks can claim it's the way the initiative was written, which has been widely criticized. And Mallory, on our Facebook page, clearly outlined the tension:

As far as involving myself while the teachers were circulating it for signatures, there was no way of knowing whether or not they would gather the numbers required to submit it or if it would survive constitutional muster. As far as when it was in the legislature, people start getting funny when you're messing around in what they believe to be "their" business. I went to the teachers lobbyists to confirm my concerns with the language and when I attempted to discuss those concerns with them, I was abruptly brushed off. 

The die is cast, all right. The truth is that while labor leaders may believe this tax will cost jobs, as foes have argued, the teachers might well maintain that this is a complete turnaround by the umbrella group from what it once believed.

It is. But whatever legitimate concerns about jobs that exist, this is also personal and quite nasty.