(Andrew Doughman/Nevada News Bureau) – Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, says he is interested in changing the state’s tax structure.
He wrote in a weekly newsletter he might consider broadening the state’s tax base, an idea that he has talked about with UNR economics professor Elliott Parker.
“The good professor understands scientifically what we all know intuitively – that the golden goose of gaming in Nevada will never again lay the same revenue egg that the Silver State has enjoyed for so long,” Hickey wrote. “Parker’s proposal for a small tax on the state’s new service economy – is worthy of serious consideration.”
Parker has suggested that the new tax could be coupled with a corresponding decrease in the sales tax. This would prevent the government from collecting more revenue. In theory, it would spread the tax burden around to a greater number of sectors.
“These kinds of revenue-neutral but long-term sensible approaches might attract members of the GOP to the table,” Hickey wrote.
Parker has written several editorials during the past months. He has advocated for more government spending rather than cuts, and has equated budget cuts to the Donner Party cannibalizing itself.
“If the Legislature passes a tax on services, but delays it for a couple of years, this would give us time to figure out how to best collect it, and we would avoid raising taxes during the depths of Nevada’s depression,” Parker wrote. “If we borrow against this future revenue to fill the current gap, we are just smoothing out when we spend it. We would not have to repay from moneys we won’t have, and not risk our credit rating.”
Hickey said the professor’s specific, revenue-neutral approach would fit into the Assembly Republican’s list of goals for the session.
The Nevada Policy Research Institute, a free-market think tank, has also advocated for a similar change in the state’s tax structure. They claim it would spread the tax burden around, although some disagree that it would be revenue neutral.
Hickey said he will not be introducing a bill for a tax on services with a provision for a reduction in the sales tax.
He said the proposal is worth “considering” and “discussing” during this legislative session.
The Legislature is 30 days into its 120-day session, and deadlines are fast approaching for lawmakers to submit bills.