Chancellor Jim Rogers ... dissatisfied with the higher education funding increases passed by the 2007 Legislature, is adamant that Nevada government needs gobs more revenue. And he's just as adamant that a state income tax, if it were ever to come to fruition, would be imposed only on our richest residents. ...

Unfortunately for Mr. Rogers, history offers no support for his well-intended wish.

Recall that the federal income tax was created under the promise that only the country's wealthiest citizens would feel the pinch. Approval of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution allowed the permanent imposition of the levy, which in 1913 amounted to 1 percent on net income greater than $3,000 for individuals, $4,000 for married couples. The top tax rate was 7 percent on incomes greater than $500,000.

We all know how that system evolved.

Taxation, like government itself, thrives on incremental growth. Once a new tax clears the hurdles to creation, the hardest battle is over. Gradually raising it and widening its reach requires much less effort.

Nevada voters can be sure that if they're ever foolish enough to void the state's constitutional prohibition on income taxes, any initial levy on the rich will eventually extend a suction hose into virtually every paycheck.


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