(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Freshman GOP Senator Michael Roberson raised some eyebrows yesterday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when he confronted the President of the Nevada Mining Association. Roberson, who signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and has consistently expressed his commitments both to Governor Sandoval’s budget and to opposing increases in taxes or fees, also said after the hearing that he may be willing to look at tax restructuring that would raise taxes on mining while reducing taxes elsewhere.
There is nothing objectionable about revenue-neutral tax reform that creates a flatter and fairer system. Eliminating deductions and carve outs that benefit well-connected special interests while reducing or abolishing other levies that hamper business development is certainly consistent with the promotion of business and with free-market principles.
“I pledged to my constituents that I would not raise taxes and I’m not going to do that,” Roberson said. “You can raise taxes in one area and offset them by lowering taxes in another area.”
Roberson has it exactly correct.
For instance, the modified business tax is one of the worst ideas ever conceived by government at any level, and that’s saying a lot. It is wrong for any time but with unemployment above 14% in the state punishing companies for employing people is absolutely insane. Government should encourage business growth and increased employment. The MBT does precisely the opposite.
Removing deductions or exemptions that are designed to advantage particular industries or firms while offsetting these with the abolition of the modified business tax would not violate Sen. Roberson’s promise to his constituents. Furthermore, it’s good policy. It’s good for the free market, it’s good for business and it’s good for Nevada.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)