No, the BLT is not the same as Q3

You have heard the meme by now: Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tax proposal IS EXACTLY THE SAME as what the teachers union proposed at the ballot in 2014.

This is what opponents of the Business License Tax, most of whom know little about it or don’t care, already are telling people, including, in some cases, their constituents. 

Of course it’s not true.

Yes, the new proposal is based on a businesses’ gross receipts, as others have been, including Question 3. But that’s where the similarities end.

Let me count the differences.

►The rate is much lower than Q3, which was at 2 percent. The BLT's highest rate is a small fraction of that.

Unlike Q3, it differentiates between businesses, taking into account different cost structures and margins.

The tax extracts much less from business than Q3 would have – remember it only raises $250 million a year while Q3 would have raised three times that much or more.

The tax was constructed to be simple and address most of the Chicken Little arguments that afflicted Q3.

None of this will stop opportunists and know-nothings from accusing Sandoval of flip-flopping or pointing out this is the same tax voters defeated 4-to-1. I’m not suggesting the governor’s plan is perfect – no tax is. But is it too much to ask that it be debated on the merits, not by conflating it with a poorly written margins tax that got crushed?

I know. I know.