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Fate of Las Vegas Cabbies in Lawmakers’ Hands 2005-12-21
The Clark County Commission, a Las Vegas legislative body, will meet today to discuss a bill which would prohibit taxi drivers from receiving kickbacks for taking passengers to strip clubs, casinos, and other nighttime destinations.
A similar bill was vetoed in June at the state level by Gov. Kenny Guinn, who was under significant pressure from the taxi industry. Drivers had threatened to strike if he passed the bill. However, the bill has been popular in the Legislature, passing both houses without excessive debate.
The Clark County Commission will discuss three possible options for dealing with this issue: 1) they may continue to support a 1985 code prohibiting taxi drivers from accepting kickbacks; 2) they may expand the code to include limousines and other transportation methods; 3) they may eliminate the clause in its entirety.
Taxicab Authority spokesman Rob Stewart believes that both eliminating the code entirely and expanding it to include taxicab drivers’ competitors would be beneficial to the taxicab industry. "It's going to be more equitable one way or the other," he said.
Taxicab drivers complain about the unfairness of singling out their industry. Some doormen, they gripe, will divert exiting revelers from waiting taxis to limousines, since they will be able to collect a kickback from the limousine drivers. Cabbies usually make up to 30% of their salaries in gratuities.
Las Vegas is, after all, a city that is almost synonymous with gratuities. Many tourist industry works in the city make much or most of their income from tips- from casino dealers and cocktail waitresses, to doormen and bellhops. Why, taxicab drivers ask, should their industry be excluded?
(By Keren)