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MGM Mirage chief asks staff not to sign teachers union petition25 April 2008
By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- MGM Mirage asked its roughly 58,000 Nevada employees to not sign a petition being circulated by the state teachers union seeking to increase the state gaming tax by 44 percent.
The missive came right from the top of the company.
In an e-mail sent Wednesday by MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni, company employees were told the teachers union is misleading voters about a proposed increase in the state gaming tax. Teachers want to ask voters in November to raise the gaming tax to 9.75 percent from 6.75 percent. A second vote would be needed in 2010.
The union needs to collect 58,836 signatures by May 20 to qualify the measure for the ballot. Signature gathering is under way.
"Teachers union leaders would have us give them hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes for teacher pay raises, but would have no limits on how raises are assigned," Lanni wrote. "This tax would pay for no new books for our students, no new equipment for our classrooms, no improvements for our campuses."
MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said it was unusual for Lanni to talk directly to company employees about a political matter.
"But this cuts right to the heart of the economy of the state and our industry," Feldman said.
Lanni asked employees to ask hard questions and not sign the petition.
"Let me be clear -- we are not against improving education in Nevada. Far from it," Lanni said.
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