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Nevada’s New Tax Plan Supported by Local Casinos

- January 25, 2016 By Oliver Young -

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Major local casinos support the $1.1 million tax plan of Gov. Brian Sandoval

The recently introduced $1.1 billion tax package by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is mainly backed up by the largest land based casino operators in the state. According to industry experts, the biggest reason for this is because the governor’s plan is to spread the tax plan across a variety of business not only across the gambling industry.

Reports by the media in Nevada read that the largest part of the $242,000 from the Coalition for Nevada’s Future received last year was produced by the five biggest gambling operators that run casinos within the borders of the state. The Coalition supports the proposed tax plan.

The Contribution of the Gambling Operators

A contribution of $38,000 each was donated by Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International that are part of the Coalition for Nevada’s Future. The Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming each donated $28,500. Affinity Gaming also contributed $4,750 and certain small but significant amounts were also contributed by the smaller casinos around Reno. The group uses the money to prevent the efforts to repeal the new commerce tax.

The lawyers representing the Coalition won a court case against a proposal backed by activist Chuck Muth to repeal all parts of the tax plan, however, they lost the battle to prevent a bailout measure to repeal only the commerce tax backed by Ron Knecht, a Republican state controller.

Proponents and Opponents

Those that support the commerce tax say that if the majority of businesses in Nevada are taxed, it will secure a stable revenue flow that would help the economy of the state to hold steady at times when individual industries are struggling. However, on the other hand, the opponents of this tax were given thumbs up to gather signatures against this tax plan in order to qualify the petition for the ballot in November. They need to gather over 55,000 signatures to qualify.

The President of the Nevada Resort Association Virginia Valentine commented on the proposed $1.1 million tax plan saying that the revenue decline in Nevada has resulted because of the very narrow tax base. She believes that the commerce tax would reduce volatility and would provide growth in the long term, especially in times like this when the economy in Nevada is growing and becomes more diverse. The biggest casino operators in the state are currently represented by this Association.

David Damore, a professor in Political Science at the University of Nevada, says the local casinos have personal interest in the tax surviving the bailout. “If the tax is repealed, lawmakers might turn to gaming again,” he says. Damore also believes that the tax is a win by the gambling industry in the state because even though taxes went up, they went up for all businesses not just for the gambling sector.

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