(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – When the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) released its semi-annual poll earlier this week, it had certain pundits, politicians and reporters jumping for joy, “Nevadans want tax increases! Nevadans want tax increases!” A closer look at the poll’s results shows a significantly different story.
Among the findings not widely reported were the overwhelming belief that tax increases will result in greater job losses and that most voters agree that raising taxes or fees will hinder the state’s ability to diversify its economy. The poll also revealed that majorities believe Governor Brian Sandoval’s spending cuts are both necessary and can be absorbed.
A large majority (61%-37%) believe that raising taxes and fees will cause greater job losses. This 24-point spread is significantly more than that of any result appearing to support increasing taxes. A 52%-45% majority also believe that increasing taxes on business will hurt Nevada’s attempts at economic diversity and its ability to attract new businesses.
Nevadans realize that tax increases are destructive to the economy and will work against the state’s efforts to lure new business and diversify the economy. With the poll also revealing that a plurality believe Jobs/economy is the biggest issue, it is difficult to imagine voters approving of actual tax increases when they are proposed.
After being bombarded with tales of woe from those who benefit from increased government spending, it’s not really surprising that some respondents may have been swayed, at least for now. But their support for increasing taxes is not as solid as you may have been led to believe.
A majority (52%-44%) believe that the reduced spending levels in Governor Sandoval’s budget are needed. While the media has trumpeted the 55% polled who support raising taxes to close the budget gap, less has been mentioned of the 56% expressing the opinion that the Governor’s spending cuts can be absorbed.
The lesson of this poll is not, as you may have been led to think, that Nevadans want tax increases. The fact that few legislators who have supported tax increases in the past are willing to discuss them now is evidence of that. It’s much more complex than that. But, still, after listening to endless accounts of impending doom-and-gloom presented by those who benefit from higher taxes, Nevadans still realize that tax hikes hurt.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)