It turns out, the “margin tax initiative” is a Very Bad Thing.
At least, that’s what it says on a flier distributed this week by the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative, which includes the Nevada Taxpayers Association, the Retail Association of Nevada, the Nevada Restaurant Association, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Resort Association, the Nevada Mining Association, the Nevada Manufacturing Association and even the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation.
I’m pretty sure by “margin tax initiative,” the Coalition means The Education Initiative, the 2 percent business margins tax proposed by the Nevada State Education Association following years of unsuccessfully fighting many of the above-mentioned groups for better tax policy in Carson City.
According to the flier, “this proposed tax would severely damage our state’s already struggling economy and job market.” It would increase costs for consumers, create an “IRS-like state bureaucracy,” kill jobs, make it impossible to attract new business and even let the Legislature raise taxes. That sounds bad. Who wants to become like Texas, which imposed a margins tax that led to all the Lone Star State’s jobs and all the businesses fleeing?!
Oh, wait. It turns out Texas’ economy is booming.
But this is just the first flier distributed by the Coalition. Surely, if this is the baseline, we should prepare ourselves for more calm, measured rhetoric from now until November. Probably arguments along these lines:
• If Nevada voters approve The Education Initiative, Nevada will face a disaster of biblical proportions! You know, “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together — mass hysteria!” In fact, that hysteria has already begun, on the part of the Coalition.
• Approving The Education Initiative will cause a critical mutation in the filovirus that causes Ebola virus disease, which will allow it to not only survive longer despite direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation, but also to be transmitted via the air. The World Health Organization reports more than 90 percent of Ebola virus disease cases are fatal, so a global pandemic could be bad. On the upside, big retail pharmacies in Nevada will be able to afford to pay the margins tax!
• If Nevada voters approve The Education Initiative, the gradually increasing pressure caused by hot liquid magma under the Yellowstone Caldera will finally erupt as a supervolcano, spewing lava and ash over thousands of miles and ushering in a mini ice age in the West. Still, the magma will not be as hot as the rhetoric from the Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative.
• Approving The Education Initiative will trigger a coronal mass ejection from our sun, which will compress the Earth’s magnetosphere on the side of the planet facing the sun, and extend it on the dark side. And when the magnetosphere snaps back, well, you don’t want to be anywhere near the upper atmosphere, that’s for sure! It will release almost as much energy as has been spent thus far to defeat the margins tax!
• If Nevada voters approve The Education Initiative, a tax-hating alien race that’s been observing our species silently for decades will have finally had enough, and launch a massive attack on the planet, killing most of the Earth’s population and enslaving the survivors to work in alien water-sucking machines that will leave our planet dry and lifeless, much like what the tax will do to business in Nevada.
• Worst of all? If Nevada voters don’t approve The Education Initiative, they’re essentially voting to endorse the status quo. Schools probably won’t get much better, the chances of real economic development won’t improve, and we’ll be having this same debate again in 20 years. That’s the real nightmare scenario, no matter what the Coalition would have you believe.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist who blogs at SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 387-5276 or SSebelius@reviewjournal.com.