(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Having lost the battle for their massive $1.2 billion tax increase, Democrats are scrambling to salvage any tax increases they can. The Assembly Ways & Means committee held hearings Wednesday to discuss AB561, extending the tax increases that had been scheduled to sunset at the end of next month. (AB561 passed through the committee on a straight party-line vote Thursday morning.)
These include a near doubling of the Modified Business Tax that even Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) has said “hurts small business and hampers job creation.” Make no mistake, not allowing these increases to expire as scheduled is itself a tax increase.
A number of businesses and individuals stepped up to the microphone to beg the legislators to raise their taxes. When all of them voluntarily contribute to the Tax Me More Fund, the State shouldn’t have to worry about revenue anymore.
Somebody better warn Kim Wallin to get prepared for an onslaught of envelopes containing huge checks from all the business whose consciences won’t allow them to oppose a tax increase. They are all going to give at least as much as they are asking the legislators to raise their taxes, aren’t they?
The real idea, of course, is not for businesses and individuals who don’t believe they are taxed enough to voluntarily increase their own contributions to the State’s coffers but to forcibly take money from other people. While they cannot in good conscience oppose the tax increase, their consciences also will not allow them to pay a penny more than the absolute minimum required.
Fittingly, this was the same day a report revealed the Clark County School District had spent over $1.1 million on iPads. And who cares if they improve the kids’ educations, we just really like to have cool stuff! Nowhere to cut, indeed. But, I digress.
Some overriding themes of all of these hearings are the mistaken beliefs that the private sector exists for the sole purpose of providing funds to the State, that businesses do not create anything of value other than revenue to be taxed and that happy, healthy people are only possible through big government.
So, while businesses are forced to scrimp and scrape just to survive, the government cannot be expected to do with any less and should be free to take more when times get tougher. While private enterprises must change their ways to deal with changing times, government can continue to operate exactly the same way regardless of outcome and its failures are merely reasons to demand more resources.
Government must reform the way it does things. That will only be possible by forcing it to deal with the same realities the rest of Nevadans have been dealing with for years now. Further burdening the private sector with increased taxes will only preserve the myth that government can continue to do what it has always done.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)