Enjoy rebate – after all, it’s your money | NevadaAppeal.com

Enjoy rebate – after all, it’s your money

Nevada Appeal Editorial Board

Money back from the government? It doesn’t happen very often, so let’s enjoy it.

The $272 million being returned this week by Gov. Kenny Guinn and the Nevada Legislature, despite delays and questions about how exactly tax money was to be distributed, arrives at a good time to boost the state’s economy.

Beset by record-high energy prices and on the verge of the holiday season, many Nevadans were in the mood to hunker down and weather a tight winter. The checks aren’t exactly a windfall, but like President Bush’s income-tax refunds they will enable some people to splurge a little and many people to pay a bill or two that otherwise would have been tough to handle.

There was no perfect way to get the money back into the hands of the Nevadans who paid it. While these checks are tied to the amount people paid for vehicle registrations, the surplus in the state’s coffer was created by a broad spectrum of tax increases approved in 2003.

That means some people are going to be left out. It also means some people may be getting more than their fair share. In some views, that includes seniors who will be getting $75 checks even though they no longer own a car.

The Legislature saw that as an even-handed way to spread out the rebates (and silence a few vocal critics along the way).

But this was never meant to be a wealth redistribution program. Keep in mind the reason behind the rebates: Nevada collected more money from its taxpayers than it needed. Giving some back was the right thing to do.

As Guinn said, “It’s time to share with those who stood by us in tough times.”

It did look grim for state finances at the time. Yet the state’s economy bounced back strong.

Now it’s looking a bit grim for personal finances. The rebate checks will give us a little bounce in return.