At the risk of sounding like a less lofty (but more doable) version of the John Lennon song “Imagine,” I’ll ask all Nevadans on this fine August morning to imagine a tax holiday — a day on which all the people may shop for back-to-school supplies without paying sales tax.
It’s easy if you try, because there are 16 other states in America that have a tax holiday of some sort. Most of these events are scheduled for this time of year, when parents go shopping to get their children ready for school.
Now, I know that the scrooges in Nevada who advocate for higher taxes and ever-higher spending to feed the government beast hate the idea of tax relief. They will say I’m a dreamer. But I’ll bet I’m not the only one who thinks that one tax holiday a year would do little to harm the state’s budget, and that it would do much to bring relief to the average Nevada resident.
Imagine if this weekend were one of those holidays. Everything you spent on school supplies — be it a computer, shoes, clothes, sports equipment, paper, pencils, etc. — would have been tax-free.
Based on my experience of having raised five children in Las Vegas — and knowing just how expensive the beginning of the school year can be — I’d say some families would easily have saved an average of $50 per child.
What could you do with the money? Some people would simply save the money for a rainy day. Others would use the savings for a night out with the kids to celebrate the upcoming school year.
Or, maybe, it’s a couple of “free” tanks of gas to start the school drive off right.
However people chose to spend the money they saved on a tax holiday, it would be their business, and I am sure it would quickly find its way back into the economy, at which time the tax man would get his share.
The savings to real folk would be substantial. The cost to state coffers would be manageable in the short run and negligible in the long run.
Is there not one, good-hearted state lawmaker out there — either Republican or Democrat — willing to do a righteous thing and ask for a bill draft to establish a tax holiday in Nevada? Just one itty-bitty, tax-free day a year?
Is that really too much to ask from our Legislature?
To keep it simple, I’d advocate that we make it across the board for all purchases. But, like I said, I am a dreamer. If we can’t get that far, then let’s at least get to a back-to-school, tax-free day.
Nevada won’t have to reinvent the wheel. Enough states do it — from Texas to North Carolina to Virginia — that it ought to be fairly easy to get this good idea drafted, discussed and enacted.
A tax-free day in Nevada. Imagine. It isn’t hard to do.
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Sherman Frederick (firstname.lastname@example.org) is publisher of the Review-Journal and president of Stephens Media.