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SB491 - Letter to Legislature

by Knight Allen, NSC Director of Legislation
Published on  June 09, 2011 - reprinted with permission

To: All members of the Nevada Legislature 
Subject: SB491óBusiness Margin Tax

May I please take a moment to remind you of the Principle of Taxation: "Do not tax the necessities of life" and its corollary: Businesses do not pay taxes.
(Adam Smith 'Wealth of Nations')

These two immutable economic laws are central to the "Great Tax Debate" of 2011. Any tax proposal placed before you that does not conform to the Principle and its Corollary must be rejected out of hand. SB491 is an affront to fair and just taxation in a free society. It destroys the economic empowerment of the people while taxing them on their food, medical care, rent and all their other "necessities of life." Even worse, SB491 strikes more and more cruelly as you go down the economic pyramid. It is the people at the bottom who spend the highest percentage of their income on the necessities while having the least amount of discretionary income. These are the people who should be carrying the lightest tax burden but SB491 imposes on them the heaviest.

How can you do that? I don't believe you can. I believe the vast majority of you, regardless of Party or political ideology cannot, in good conscience, support a bill that will do so much harm to the most vulnerable in our society. SB491 needs to die.

It is important to understand that the Principle and its Corollary are not obstructionist. They do not represent a No tax! No tax! No tax! mindset. All they require from you is a genuine respect for and commitment to the economic empowerment and liberty of the people. That's not too much to ask. Is it? Pragmatically it's not difficult: Any tax rooted in the free economic choices of a free people is a good tax. Any tax not rooted in choice? Bad tax. With all of you on the same page you just might be able to find some common ground for compromise.

Everything I've offered you so far applies 100% no matter where you are on the political spectrum. It is completely non partisan. What follows isn't.
We live in a society in which government is, in reality, the highest paid "industry" in Nevada. During the worst economic crisis in our state history the average private sector wage fell by 8% while the average government wage rose by 4%.
(Las Vegas Review-Journal 3/7/10)

The people of Nevada are buried under a multi-billion dollar unfunded liability for government pensions and health care. The current situation is an untenable economic injustice that has to be stopped.

However the end game may be shaping up among you, the bottom line must be that if we are going to be hit with hundreds of millions in new taxes (in accord with the Principle) there must be a major restructuring of the government compensation system. Otherwise, the No tax! No tax! No tax! position must prevail. 
Thank you for your time.

                    Knight Allen

Addendum: The State Supreme Courtís ruling that has probably prevented the legislature and the Governor from taking revenue from the Counties changed the end game in Carson City considerably. At publication time SB491 is dead and a golden opportunity was missed when mandatory arbitration was left intact.