Politics is about forming coalitions to advance fundamental principles. That’s why Republicans should propose raising the gambling tax and lowering the sales tax.
The Vegas Chamber recently endorsements published in statewide races. You might think his selected candidates would support the values he claims to uphold, such as promoting “economic growth and job creation.” No. The House endorsed Governor Steve Sisolak. You may remember him as the man who shut down businesses for months in 2020. His initial shutdown order led to the highest unemployment rate – a staggering 28.2% – of all states since consistent records began in 1976. Two years later, Nevada’s unemployment system is still struggling to pay benefits.
Even if it was a mistake, his original decision was defensible. There were a lot of unknowns at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But as other states reopened, Sisolak kept Nevada closed. Even after reopening, he continued to impose restrictions. Nevada’s Little Wonder still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
For a corporate group to endorse a governor with such a track record is staggering. But this corresponds to a long-standing pattern. The House has regularly endorses Democrats and Republicans who vote for higher taxes and more regulations. During the 2015 legislative session, the group approved the largest tax increase in Nevada historyincluding the creation of the commercial tax.
This is a problem for Conservative candidates. It’s much harder to win when groups who should be your ideological allies support candidates who actively oppose your so-called common interests.
Instead of standing up for its stated principles, the House continues to try to curry favor with big government Democrats and Republicans. This strategy is like a sheep bribing a wolf to eat it last. The gaming industry, which dominates Nevada’s economy, likes this approach.
This reality requires a strategic shift among Republicans in small governments. The fundamental principle of fiscal conservatism is limited and responsible government. This requires tax revenue, although less than what Nevada currently collects.
Note that the key ideal is not to keep a specific tax low. Ideally, all taxes will be low. But low taxes on a particular industry are a by-product, not a goal. This means that there is leeway on specific taxes. For example, Nevada has one of the highest sales taxes in the country. Our gaming tax is one of the lowest.
Republicans are expected to propose revenue-neutral tax restructuring. Increase gaming tax to offset a half or one percentage point drop in sales tax. You could increase it further to raise the business tax threshold or eliminate it.
You could remove the 8% property tax cap on prime properties along the Strip while lowering the cap on residential properties to 2%. Raise the city tax to offset the increased sales tax that benefits more cops in Clark County. For good measure, raise taxes on litigators while lowering car registration tax.
These ideas would probably poll over 80%, especially if the gaming industry continues to perform well. If the players attack, the Republicans could claim that the companies are attacking them because they are fighting for the working class. Electorally, it is a good exchange. That would help Republicans continue to woo those voters.
Imagine how much fun a Republican could have running for governor on a platform like this.
Being pro-market means being pro-competition, not reflexively pro-big business. Many big corporations want to use the power of government to enrich themselves at the expense of their competitors and the general public.
It certainly happens in Nevada. Republicans should change their policies and priorities accordingly.