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Voters Will Soon Decide Whether To End Medical Devices Sales Tax

Black and white photo of a wheelchair in a room.
Question 4 proposes to eliminate sales tax on durable medical devices like wheelchairs.

At this year’s ballot box, Nevada voters may decide whether some medical equipment will get a sales tax exemption. KUNR’s Anh Gray has the details.

Ballot Question 4 proposes to nix the sales tax on durable medical devices like oxygen tanks, wheelchairs and ventilators.

Precious Hall is a political science professor with Truckee Meadows Community College. She says opponents of the initiative argue that it’s unclear how losing this tax revenue could impact the state financially. They also consider the legislation’s language as vague.

“Some of the criticisms of this ballot measure is that what it will do is that it will amend the constitution to allow the legislature to create a law to exempt medical equipment,” Hall explains. “It does not say that the legislature has to follow through with it, but it will give them the ability to do so.”

But backers of the measure, Hall says, view these medical items as health essentials.

“When we talk about durable medical equipment, these are necessities. These are not luxuries, these are necessities for many people.” Hall says that’s how proponents of the initiative see this issue. “And even though [Nevada] could potentially lose money, because anytime you don’t tax products you potentially lose money. What we know is that it wouldn’t be so significant, that it would put the state of Nevada in such a place that it can’t do what it needs to do for its citizens.”

Question 4 was approved by voters two years ago but, as with all amendments to the Nevada Constitution, the measure requires a second vote.

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.
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