(Geoffrey Lawrence/NPRI) – Okay…so maybe it’s not an exact quote, but that’s certainly what I got out of Secretary of State Ross Miller’s comments to the Las Vegas Sun today. Miller is complaining that home-based businesses aren’t paying their “fair share” and should be forced to pay $200 annually for the privilege of doing business in Nevada.
The policy problems associated with this shakedown are obvious: 1. How does it impact the margins of the state’s most fledgling businesses? 2. What kind of signal does this hostility to small business send to investors worldwide, and how does that impact their future willingness to invest private capital in Nevada? 3. Why should individuals be forced to pay an up-front tribute in order to provide for their families without molestation by the state? Does anyone read John Locke anymore?
Yet, what I found most striking about Miller’s comments dealt with his shock and outrage over alleged tax fraud within the state. (Economic truth: The more punitive a tax code becomes, the higher the rate of noncompliance. It’s a component of the Laffer Curve. Look no further than the federal corporate income tax for illustration of this principle: Facing the highest corporate income tax in the developed world, American multinationals have created an entire industry of moving profits offshore to avoid the punitive federal tax.)
Miller says if the reporting requirements are not made far more stringent (he wants to require official notarization on all filings) then he might as well hold up “a banner in front of the Carson Capitol that says, ‘If you pay the state business license fee, you’re an absolute idiot.'”
So, Miller believes that the state bureaucracy does not provide enough value for individuals to want to support it? Interesting…