(Chuck Muth) – Democrat Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has been desperate to screw the gaming industry with higher taxes and/or fees (same thing) during this special session of the Legislature. Which led one gaming executive declared on Saturday that enough was enough.
Alan Feldman of the MGM/Mirage sent columnist Jon Ralston the following response to a threat by Sen. Horsford to set a “placeholder” position in the budget plan where gaming would have to cough up some extra dough….
On no less than 8 occasions in the past few years, the gaming industry has been called upon to bear an ever-increasing burden of the state’s budget. Already by far the largest contributor to state tax revenues, the gaming industry has taken on an additional $1.12 billion in new taxes and fees since 2003. Even staring down the enormity of the recession last year, gaming agreed to an additional tax of $300 million in order to save teacher salaries.
Having now been hit by the worst recession in American history and the worst downturn in gaming revenues in Nevada history, we can simply no longer afford to bear the overwhelming share of the burden for running the state.
We appreciate the difficult choices that state leaders must make – these are similar to the choices made by each member of the gaming industry over the past 2 years. Programs must be cut. Compensation must be reduced. In some cases, where necessary, positions must be eliminated. The choices are limited and hard, but they must be made.
The industry supports the vital quality of life needs of our fellow Nevadans, but we can no longer afford to subsidize other businesses and industries. Further, public employees cannot avoid the economic realities that the private sector has been struggling to manage.
For legislative leaders to suggest that if they can’t find more money their only course of action is to reduce the number of teachers is absurd.
This circumstance calls for enlightened leadership to take decisive action to reduce expenditures, eliminate bureaucratic obstacles to find more efficient ways of delivering services and significantly broaden the burden of tax payments to better reflect the current realities of the state’s needs.
Amen and hallelujah!!
Although, to be fair, gaming didn’t pony up $300 million in order to save teacher salaries in 2003. The Legislature raised the room tax in Clark and Washoe counties, meaning our tourists, not the gaming companies, are paying the higher taxes.
But as for Mr. Feldman’s point that public employees shouldn’t be spared the same pain from the economic recession that private industry workers have been subjected to by cutting programs, reducing pay and eliminating non-essentials positions….damn straight, Skippy!
Let the pink slips fly and bring out the meat cleaver.