To their credit, politicians in Nevada’s 80th legislative session seem pretty eager to actually keep campaign promises—unfortunately, they’re counting on everyone else to pay for such political achievements.
Despite Governor Steve Sisolak’s “no new taxes” pledge (some restrictions, exemptions and limitations may apply), there are still at least a few issues being discussed that will, in fact, raise taxes. For one, lawmakers are planning on extending the Modified Business Tax — which is essentially a tax on employment.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s “More Cops” tax is also likely to be extended permanently, and there remain a handful of other tax proposals as well — including one that would empower local fire districts with their own taxing authority.
Sadly, many Nevada Democrats aren’t content with merely increasing tax burdens; they also want to micromanage almost every aspect of private business in the state as well.
Minimum wage, for example, is extolled as a “pay raise” for Nevada’s low-income workers — and Democrats have long sought to play the role of a benevolent business manager by forcing every employer to hike pay for this hard working (and lowly paid) voting demographic.
Economics, however, has a way of being rather inflexible to political whims, and the threat of minimum wage workers being replaced with electronic kiosks is all too real in the 21st century — especially when the wage, healthcare, insurance and tax costs associated with employing workers is being driven ever-higher through government regulations.
Which is probably why Democrat politicians — eager to be seen as modern-day Robin Hoods — have also floated the idea of charging an unemployment tax for every “automated kiosk” or similar job-displacing piece of technology.
Another bill that demonstrates lawmaker’s micromanaging tendencies would forbid landlords from considering an applicant’s history of non-payment when deciding whether or not to rent out property. Apparently, some lawmakers believe such tactics are discriminatory.
The examples are almost never ending. Yet another bill would require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. Certainly, such a mandate would be a welcome reform for workers who aren’t currently extended such a benefit — however, it would come at the expense of an employer who will likely have to cut employee hours or positions to afford such a mandate.
On and on the list goes — and each example demonstrates just how comfortable lawmakers are in telling private individuals how to run businesses or earn a living…Especially when doing so benefits their reelection chances.
Each bill drives home the point that politicians are really good at spending other people’s money — even when they aren’t hiking taxes.
From a political perspective, this micromanaging politicking makes sense. After all, politicians get to play the “good guy” while forcing the rest of us to figure out how to fund their so-called “solutions.”
Unlike a small business owner or an entrepreneur, politicians don’t have to balance their altruism with what is actually affordable. Instead, they can pass their good intentions into law, leaving the difficult and unpopular decisions — such as who to layoff — up to Nevadans who actually depend on slim profit margins to earn a living.
Notice that these lawmakers aren’t starting their own businesses dedicated to paying employees $15 (or $12 or even $10) per hour. They aren’t using funds from their reelection campaigns to front small business owners the money necessary for providing paid sick leave. Nor are they rushing out to personally cosign leases for individuals who have histories of non-payment.
When politicians make campaign promises, it’s important to remember that they aren’t raising money for a GoFundMe project or soliciting volunteers to donate time and energy to help tackle these problems. They’re campaigning for the power to force the rest of us into taking risks and spending money on their political priorities — risks they are unwilling to take themselves.
Unfortunately for Nevadans, the Democrats made a lot of campaign promises ahead of this session.
Michael Schaus is Communications Director, Nevada Policy Research Institute