If you've been in Nevada for the last dozen years of so, you know that the state Legislature has been spending money like there was no tomorrow. Alas, tomorrow is here today.
The state's phenomenal population growth has covered this spending binge ... until now. Now the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. But rather than roll back much of the government blob that was foisted upon us when legislators were rolling in the dough, bigÐgovernment special interests are out there demanding new and higher taxes.
To hear these special interests tell it, the problem isn't that the government has been spending like drunken sailors all these years. The problem, they'd have you believe, is that we're not taxing our citizens, our businesses and our tourists enough. Their mantra, repeated over and over again, ad nauseum, is that we need to "broaden the tax base."
Indeed, University Chancellor Jim Rogers - the leading cheerleader for a "broader" tax base, including a personal income tax - was at it again yesterday in a memo to regents over proposed budget cuts. After describing the state of education funding in nothing short of apocalyptic terms, Rogers reminded everyone that he has "suggested on numerous occasions that the State adopt a general business tax."
Let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that businesses don't pay taxes. They simply pass taxes on to you and me in the form of higher prices for goods and services. A "business" tax is a tax on consumers, plain and simple.
But for those who might be inclined to buy into this argument that Nevada's tax base isn't broad enough, allow me to point out that while there might be 50 ways to leave your lover, there are over 80 ways the government currently sucks money out of Nevada's economy via various taxes and fees, including the ...
Business License Fee, Modified Business Tax, Modified Business Tax for Financial Institutions, Bank Branch Excise Tax, Incorporation Fees, Business Trusts, Limited Liability Company Fees, Limited Partnership Fees & LLLP Fees, Limited Liability Partnership Fees, Trademarks & Trade Names Fees, Uniform Commercial Code Fees, Video Service Provider Fees, Unemployment Insurance Tax, Drug Taxes, Controlled Substance Tax, Special Drug Manufacturing Tax, Excise Taxes, Cigarette & Other Tobacco Products Excise Tax, Intoxicating Liquor License & Tax, Fuel Taxes, State Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax and Aviation Fuel Tax.
Hold on. We're just getting warmed up. There's also the ...
County Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax, County RTC Motor Vehicle Tax, Special Fuel Tax, Jet Fuel Tax, Gaming and Entertainment Taxes & Fees, CityÐCounty Gaming Tax, County Gaming Fees, Gross Gaming Revenue Fee, PariÐ Mutual Wagering Tax, Race Wire License Fee, Slot License Fee Ð NonRestricted, Slot License Fee Ð Restricted, Slot Machine Excise Tax, Slot Route Operator & Distributor Fees, State Gaming License Ð Annual Fees, State Games License Ð Quarterly Fees, Internet Gaming Tax, Insurance Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, Lodging Tax, and State Transient Lodging Tax.
Whew! But we're not finished yet. There's also the ...
Local Transient Lodging Tax, Mining Tax and Miscellaneous Mine Fees, Net Proceeds of Minerals & Patented Mines Tax, Oil & Gas Administrative Fee, Miscellaneous Taxes & Fees, Unarmed Combat Fees, Car Rental Government Services Tax, Livestock Tax, Live Entertainment Tax, Local Franchise Fee, Tax on Estates, Tire Tax, Nevada Transportation Authority Fees, Water Transfer Tax, Motor Vehicle Taxes, Motor Vehicle Registration Tax, Governmental Services Tax Ð Basic, Governmental Services Tax Ð Supplemental, Property Taxes, Real Property Tax (Ad Valorem), Personal Property Tax, and the Real Property Transfer Tax.
Take a breath. We're almost there ...
Public Utility Taxes, Public Utility Assessment Fee, Universal Energy Charge and Sales and Use Taxes. Combined Sales and Use Tax/State Sales and Use Tax (S.S.T.), Combined Sales and Use Tax/Local School Support Tax (LSST), Combined Sales and Use Tax/Basic CityÐ County Relief Tax (BCCRT), Combined Sales and Use Tax/Supplemental CityÐ County Relief Tax (SCCRT), and, of course, the County Optional Sales Tax.
Seems like a pretty broad tax base to me. How 'bout you?
• Chuck Muth, of Carson City, is president and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a political blogger. Read his views Fridays on the Appeal Opinion page or visit www.muthstruths.com. You can eÐ mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org