Tax decision may have been made
August 27, 2002
If Gov. Kenny Guinn and the Legislature needed to know which direction to head when they start talking about raising taxes, they got a pretty clear signal last week from the Nevada Resort Association.
The association represents Nevada’s casino industry, and there’s no bigger kid on the block.
So when Mike Sloan, a vice president at Mandalay Bay resorts, says the association would go along with a quarter- to half-percent increase on gross receipts for all businesses, you don’t need a sail to figure out which way the wind is blowing.
Two points stand out.
One, supporting a small increase on all businesses is the gaming industry’s way of saying it will fight tooth-and-nail the big increase state Sen. Joe Neal wants to slap on casinos. Neal would raise the gross gaming tax from 6.25 percent to 10.25 percent — a 60-percent jump.
As we’ve said before, that’s far to steep an increase on a single industry, regardless of how big it is or how many problems it causes.
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Second, no matter how analytical and scholarly the study by the Governor’s Task Force on Tax Policy, politics will rule the day.
Politics has already determined the task force won’t be making any recommendations before Nov. 5 elections, so voters won’t have a chance to separate wheat from chaff on the issue.
Nevertheless, no matter what recommendations make their way into the 2003 legislative session, they will need political support to see the light of day.
If the Nevada Resort Association has identified a business-tax increase as the one it would support — not particularly surprising, as it has taken that position before — then the task force’s analysis might just have become moot.
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