What Should “Revenue Reform” Look Like?

State Tax system could be Stabilized and Improved with Broader Consumption Tax Calls for “revenue reform” have long emanated from Carson City, where state lawmakers have complained that Nevada’s current tax code is outdated and no longer capable of supporting critical public services. Most often, these calls for “revenue reform” have served as little more than a euphemism for … [Read more...]

Margin Tax Would Cause Destruction of 3,600+ Private-Sector Jobs

New Dynamic, General-Equilibrium Analysis Simulates Impact of Tax Proposal Although much has been said about the proposed margin tax on businesses that will appear as Question 3 on November’s ballot, there is a shocking lack of clarity about the actual impact of the tax on Nevada’s economy. There isn’t even agreement on an approximate amount of new tax dollars the tax would … [Read more...]

A Key Definition in the Margin-Tax Scheme Would Have Catastrophic Impact

Much ado has been made, and will continue to be made, about what is the most important question on Nevada’s 2014 ballot. But one critical aspect of the state teacher union’s proposal to enact a business margin tax has gone virtually unnoticed: the definition of an “affiliated group.” For the non-accountant, this might sound like a tedious and technical detail, but it could … [Read more...]

The Left’s New Agenda: Minimum Wage Hikes and Unemployment Benefits Aren’t the Key to Prosperity

Capitalism did not create poverty—it inherited it,” observed individualist philosopher Ayn Rand. Over the past centuries, capitalism has eradicated the previous conditions of widespread famine and starvation and has elevated the living standards of the poor to a level previously unheard of, even for kings. Today, even low-income Americans commonly enjoy cell phones, … [Read more...]

Can Hollywood be ‘Caged’ in Nevada? Film-tax credit drew big-name supporters, but has shaky track record

The Nevada film-tax credit is essentially a financial bribe from Silver State taxpayers for film producers to shoot movies in Nevada.

He began: “My name is Nicolas Cage, and I am an American filmmaker.” On May 7th of this year, Cage appeared before a legislative committee to ask it to implement a film-tax credit in the State of Nevada. He argued that the lack of these tax credits was the only thing holding back a deluge of producers coming into the Silver State to build movie studios and film movies. … [Read more...]

Hold On to Your Wallet: Legislature Once Again Has Taxpayers Bracing for Another Hit

Hold On to Your Wallet: Legislature Once Again Has Taxpayers Bracing for Another Hit

No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session,” Mark Twain famously said while covering the biennial mess in Carson City. Despite Twain’s warnings, Nevada lawmakers are meeting once again, for the 77th regular legislative session, and Nevada taxpayers are realizing, once again, that their property is not safe. That’s because politicians … [Read more...]

Let’s Quit Killing Jobs in the Silver State: Legislators Should Remove Obstacles to Job Creation

Nevada’s unemployment rate has lingered at unacceptably high, double-digit rates for nearly four years. That uncomfortable statistic — reflecting deep human costs inflicted on many Nevada families — has led the state’s political class to make much ado about promoting “economic development.” During the 2011 legislative session, for example, lawmakers created a new “state … [Read more...]

Taxpayers Don’t Prevail: Nevada’s prevailing wage law benefits narrow groups at public expense

Imagine you’re a plumber living in Mesquite. For most jobs, you’d probably earn as much as a plumber living in nearby St. George, Utah — $19.67 per hour, on average, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. If you can get work on a public works project financed by Clark County or the State of Nevada in your hometown, however, your employer would be required to … [Read more...]

Back to Schools You Wouldn’t Choose: Nevada parents have been left behind in the school-choice movement

As Nevada’s children return to school this fall, many parents will again be frustrated, recognizing that their children will be relegated to sub-standard education. Parents who can’t afford to live in the wealthy neighborhoods that host the best public schools, and who can’t afford private-school tuition, will discover that the educational opportunities available to their … [Read more...]

What the Obamacare Decision Means for State Policymakers: Court gives states the option of financing congressional scheme

Few decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have captured the public interest as did its June opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius. This long-anticipated ruling was widely perceived as the final judicial test for one of the most controversial acts of Congress in decades: the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. The challenge centered on whether Congress has the … [Read more...]

Margins Tax Mayhem: Unions’ Tax Initiative Would Devastate Small, Struggling Businesses


In a long-anticipated move, the hard-left union bosses of the Nevada AFL-CIO and the state teachers union marked D-Day this year by launching another assault against Silver State businesses. A ballot initiative filed by the unions would ask lawmakers to hammer businesses with a new margins tax and then earmark the money to directly benefit the unions. The margins tax — … [Read more...]

Texas Margin Tax: Always a Bad Idea: Margin Tax is More Destructive than Alternatives

Leaders in the Democratic majority during the 2011 state legislative session proposed a dramatic change to Nevada’s tax system: Phase out the Modified Business Tax — a tax on private-sector payroll — and replace it with a new, larger levy modeled after Texas’ business margin tax. The effort gained so little traction in Carson City that the Democratic leadership, embarrassed, … [Read more...]

Hiding Behind Opaque Numbers: Nevada PERS Accounting Practices are Concealing Taxpayers’ Real Liabilities

Nothing pleases a politician more than the ability to promise lavish benefits to important constituencies without having to pay for them. Nevada lawmakers long ago found a vote-buying cash cow of this nature in the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). PERS manages a defined-benefits pension system that operates much differently from the retirement funds owned … [Read more...]

How much is too much?: Government wages are extravagant and arbitrary

It’s one of the most challenging questions facing labor economists today: At what level should most public employees be paid? In public sector employment, the typical price signals that help determine wage rates in competitive labor markets are absent. After all, most government agencies do not compete in an open labor market wherein they must also provide quality goods to … [Read more...]

Taxes, Taxes & Taxes… Oh My!: Lawmakers trying to poach more from private industry

“Revenue solutions” are the talk of Carson City as the Nevada Legislature heads into its final week. Unsatisfied with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s newest proposals to hold state spending in the next budget cycle at a similar level to the current budget cycle, majority Democrats are pressing for more taxes on Silver State businesses, workers and consumers. These tax increases would … [Read more...]

Unions Prevail, While Most Nevadans Struggle: Prevailing wage laws cost taxpayers billions

In the 2011 Nevada Legislature, lawmakers in the majority are again carrying water for organized trade unions — from the Keynesian “jobs fund” proposal to the mercantilist “Nevada Jobs First” proposal. Longtime Nevada residents know this is nothing new. It began in the 1930s, when legislators first adopted the state’s prevailing wage requirements on public works … [Read more...]

A Silver Lining Among the Storm Clouds: Recession drives better state budgeting practices

They say there’s a silver lining to every cloud. And Nevada currently faces a big cloud. Nevada is suffering through its deepest economic recession in generations. Its unemployment rate lingers above 14 percent — highest in the nation. If discouraged and underemployed workers is included, as was the practice during the Great Depression, Nevada’s effective unemployment rate … [Read more...]