(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Another day, another innocent casualty of Secretary of State Ross Miller’s attack on home-based businesses. But the real victims may Nevada’s businesses and taxpayers.
Donna Mitchell is a 71-year old woman who has four small businesses that she operates out of her Florida home. These home-based businesses have been registered in Nevada since the mid-90’s.
They each make less than $27,000 per year and qualified for the state’s home-based business exemption. It costs $500 each year for the privilege of registering her four companies in Nevada.
And what did the taxpayers of Nevada have to provide to earn that $500? Not much of anything other than a place to send the $500. So each year Ms. Mitchell has paid the fees to state of Nevada.
The SoS has taken it upon himself to change the rules for granting the home-based business exemption to prevent out-of-state companies from using it and avoiding the accompanying $200 business license fee to the state. His new unilateral dictate amounts to trying to shake down Ms. Mitchell for an additional $800 for these four businesses.
Ms. Mitchell has decided she’s not going to pay it. But she’s not going to break the law, either. She’s simply going to register her four businesses somewhere else, probably her home state, where she can do it for a total of $600.
“I guess you don’t really want my business,” she says of the Silver State.
Big deal, $500, right? Well, because she had her businesses registered in Nevada, Ms. Mitchell, who used to own property in the state and likes to gamble, would travel to Las Vegas at least once a year.
On each trip she’d stay at least five days, often a week or more, and “spend lots of money” in the state. Although she wouldn’t divulge exactly how much “lots” meant, considering her fondness for gambling and the length of her stays, we can pretty safely assume it’s in the thousands.
But no more.
Since she no longer has any businesses registered in the state, there’s “not any reason to go” to Las Vegas anymore.
“I’m going to spend the $800,” she says. “I’m just not going to give it to the state of Nevada.” The state’s businesses are also going to lose out on hotel room, gaming and food and beverage income as well.
As Ms. Mitchell says, there’s a lot of competition for Nevada. Atlantic City, Mississippi, even her home state of Florida, now have gambling. And she can go to anyone of these places without losing a full day each way traveling. So the Secretary of State’s scheme to snatch another 800 bucks from this little old lady is going to cost the state thousands of dollars a year. And you can be certain she’s not alone.
This is hardly the time to give people less of a reason to come to Nevada. Or less of a reason to set up shop or register in the Silver State. But our Secretary of State, with his plan to shake down Nevada’s businesses for every dime of spare change they may have left, is doing just that.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)