The longer that overlords hold power, the more paranoid they become. So it is today with the gambling-industrial complex.
A dozen years since their spectacular failure of 2003, they finally got their gross receipts tax passed by the Republican-dominated 2015 legislature. (Nevada cannot levy personal or business net income taxes because of 1990 ballot questions.)
Re-labeled a “commerce tax,” the modified gross receipts levy is again based on cash flow. Gamblers won exemption arguing that they are subject to the gross wagering tax on their casino drop, lowest in the world save for a few California rancherias. (Barbwire 9-29-2015)
I crunched rough numbers on the 2003 grotesque receipts proposal and arrived at a shocking bottom line.
Allowing for deduction of state taxes on federal income tax returns, then factoring in the huge amount of corporate welfare that casinos extract from taxpayers, the net new liability for the entire industry statewide came to a paltry $6 million a year – perhaps a few hours’ drop on the Las Vegas Strip. (Barbwire May 12 and June 15, 2003)
Twelve years ago, bi-partisan lawmakers instead opted to tax businesses by number of employees. Casino execs and lobbyists screamed.
Big Gambling is already gearing up to protect its new tax preferences by recruiting legislative candidates who will defend the industry’s sacrosanct position, expand the commerce tax and cut the per-employee levy.
Remember that you got it first via the Barbwire.
HAVING IT BOTH WAYS. When it benefits them, casinos love getting taxed on cash flow. For more than a decade, they have enjoyed having their own enterprises valued exactly that way for property tax purposes.
If your paycheck gets cut, your property tax doesn’t. Not so resorts. Led by John Ascuaga’s Nugget, they successfully changed the rules, permanently diminishing their property taxes.
Schools, parks, roads, police and fire protection continue to suffer. Corporate welfare queens like the Reno Aces, Apple, Switch and Tesla have only made things worse. Like gambling, they stimulate growth but pay less than a pittance for impacts, sending the tab to the lower classes, you and me.
This column broke the story last July that despite all the publicity of education funding increases, per-pupil expenditures remain flat.
WAS IT AN ELECTRIC CAR? Tesla made big news last week when its security guards strong-armed veteran Reno Gazette-Journal photographer Andy Barron, alleging assault. Reminded me of the time Sparks PD busted stellar Tribune photo editor Debra Reid, who was covering a serious road rage incident at Rock Blvd. and I-80. The cops even confiscated her cameras until City Hall got a call about that pesky First Amendment thing.
Mr. Barron’s vehicle had its driver’s-side window smashed and its driver’s seatbelt cut, according to longtime RGJ reporter Anjeanette Damon. So who assaulted whom?
Madcap Storey County Sheriff Gerald Cook Antinoro is investigating. Good luck with that. (Barbwire online edition 10-31-2014)
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.