Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Another good column on Nevada's budget crisis.

I look forward to John L. Smith's columns in the Review-Journal, and today's column is no exception (see here).  Let's face it:  imposing taxes on tourists isn't working well for us, because there is a price point at which tourists will choose another vacation location, rather than paying through the nose for lodging.  Imposing higher taxes on food is more broad-based, but it's going to fall disproportionately on the poorest among us, who look to stretch every penny of their budgets.

Mining, on the other hand, probably hasn't reached its price point for taxes.  A couple of observations:  (1) the minerals are here, so as long as the mining companies want to mine here, they're captive; and (2) I'll bet that there are other businesses that aren't at the price point for leaving the state or laying off their employees.  That second point is tricky, because raising taxes on businesses across the board will hurt those smaller businesses with razor-thin profit margins.  And we don't want to go around killing more businesses.  They're dying left and right already.

We need more broad-based taxes, but let's try to levy them on sources that have a solid profit margin (so that the businesses are still left with a hefty profit), rather than on people and business that are struggling to survive.  Maybe it's time for a state luxury tax?

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