(Sarah Downey) – Nevada’s gaming industry is pushing back against a proposal that would add another level of taxation that would be charged on establishments with monthly gross revenues of more than $250,000.
The 9.75 percent tax is being proposed by a new group called Nevadans for Fair Gaming Taxes, which is comprised of members of the Clark County Education Association. The teachers say the new tax on the most profitable Las Vegas casinos would help raise more than $300 million annually for the state.
The current top levy is 6.75 percent on all revenues above $134,000.
The group has prepared an initiative petition. With enough signatures, the proposal could go before the legislature in 2021. If the petition is rejected or no action taken, the measure could go before voters in 2022.
In a statement emailed to The Center Square, the Nevada Resort Association said the proposal, if enacted would hurt the state’s economy.
“By targeting Nevada’s economic engine with a 44 percent tax increase, this proposal would be very damaging to the state’s economy, job creation, capital investment and future economic development,” the association said. “Let’s be very clear, the gaming industry has consistently supported a broad-based business tax to support public education and has a long history of investing in and supporting our schoolchildren. As a matter of sound and equitable policy, broad-based taxes are a more stable revenue stream than the volatility that comes with depending on a single industry.
“As Nevada’s largest industry, we generate nearly $68 billion annually for the state’s economy, pay almost 40 percent of the state’s general fund revenue and support more than 450,000 jobs statewide. Unfortunately, one of the teachers’ unions has chosen a path of higher pay at the expense of tens of thousands of other jobs throughout the state.”
While in Washington, D.C. for the National Governors Association meeting earlier this month, Gov. Steve Sisolak was asked about the initiative.
“I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it, and we’re going to have to explore all options,” Sisolak told VIXIO Gambling Compliance.
John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association, told the Las Vegas Review Journal, “We think that gaming can contribute more to the state revenues …. “It has the lowest tax in the country and even with this increase it still would be below the national average. We don’t think it will hurt the industry. We think the public supports it.”