Nevada Tax Panel Searches for New Revenue Sources

March 6, 2009

The Nevada legislature is having a hard time finding new sources of tax revenue to deal with the state’s budget problems. Representatives of the Nevada mining and gaming industries told state legislators yesterday that their industries cannot withstand additional, targeted taxes.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Gaming and mining leaders told legislators Thursday that their industries have been hard hit by the recession and cannot afford to be targeted for tax increases as a way to bail out state government.

. . .

Taxation committee members made no decisions on new taxes at the hearing, the first called to let businesses, citizen groups and average citizens offer their suggestions on how to lift state government out of its financial difficulties.

“We are tightening our belt,” said Assembly Taxation Chairwoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas. “But all these services cost money. We don’t have slushes in this budget.”

After hearing business associations and others support tax increases, Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, released a packet of headlines from newspapers over the past month showing how companies are laying off workers and suffering financial problems. He said he wanted to show that economic problems are affecting much more than state government.

The gaming and mining industry leaders made an important point, one that every legislator should heed, even in good economic conditions:

They told a joint Senate-Assembly taxation committee that they would support a “broad-based” tax paid by all businesses, but not one paid by just a few.

This is simply sensible, fair tax policy. The gambling industry is frequently targeted in many states for high taxes, both explicit and implicit (as in the case of state-run lotteries). This is poor tax policy, as we have written before. Of course, it’s not just the gaming industry that suffers from targeted taxes: we see the same problem across the country with cigarette taxes, among others.

More on Nevada taxes.

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