Neal to file gaming tax petition today |

Neal to file gaming tax petition today

Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, plans to file his gaming tax initiative petition with the Secretary of State today.

The proposal, which was also the centerpiece of Neal’s unsuccessful 1998 run for governor, calls on the Nevada legislature to raise taxes on the state’s largest casinos by 5 percent taking it to more than 11 percent of gross winnings.

He said Nevada casinos pay the lowest tax rate of any gambling houses in the world and are using their profits from the Silver State to build new casinos that compete with Nevada. He cited recent deals between Nevada casino corporations and California Indian tribes as an example.

Neal said the increase would affect only the state’s largest casinos – primarily those on the Las Vegas Strip. It would not hit any of the state’s small or medium sized casinos.

Those casinos now pay 6.2 percent in gaming taxes.

Neal pointed out that the state taxes paid can be deducted from a corporation’s federal taxes. He said at least some of the tax can be looked at as “a transfer of local funds from Washington to Carson City.”

To get on the ballot, Neal has to collect at least 44,009 valid signatures of registered voters before the end of the year. If he does, the petition will be submitted to the 2001 Nevada Legislature.

Neal said if the Legislature fails to act, then the issue will be taken out of its hands. He said that means asking Nevada voters to enact the increase.

He pointed out that recent polls by the University of Nevada show – that if taxes must be increased – state residents would much prefer the casinos take the hit rather than see increases in property, sales or other taxes.

Before filing the petition in Carson City, Neal plans to hold press conferences in both Las Vegas and Reno.