LETTERS: IRS’s revised jackpot tax a bad idea

To the editor:

So the IRS wants to lower the reporting threshold for jackpots from $1,200 to $600 (“Report predicts pain for casinos,” March 13 Review-Journal). Never mind the labor increases and extra accounting forms to be processed by enacting a lower threshold. More likely, the average gambling Joe is going to pull back his bet.

First of all, gamblers do not just walk into the casino and win $1,200 on their $20 bet. Most gamblers have lost more than $1,200 before they win some of it back, and then the IRS wants a piece. Secondly, most gamblers use their hard-earned wages to gamble — wages that have already been taxed by the federal government. Then when they win, the IRS takes another piece, because if the gamblers don’t itemize, the winnings get added again to wages.

Even if they do itemize they can only claim their losses up to the amount they have won. So if the average Joe wagered and lost $10,000 in 2014 and won $3,000 in 2014, the IRS does not let Joe claim the extra $7,000 loss, and they take a portion of the $3,000 win.

If gamblers won a jackpot every time they played, the casinos would go out of business. For these reasons, the reporting threshold shouldn’t be lowered, but rather raised to at least $2,500, if not done away with altogether. Gambling is a voluntary leisure activity that should not be used to fill IRS coffers.



Daylight saving time

To the editor:

Kudos to Assemblyman Chris Edwards for his proposal to put us on permanent daylight saving time (“Hey, stop the clock (changes),” March 8 Review-Journal). I’ve lived here nearly 25 years and love everything about Southern Nevada — except that the sun is gone by 4:30 p.m. during the dead of winter.

We sit to the east of Boise, Idaho (which is on Mountain time), but are saddled with a time zone that is entirely inappropriate for our sunset times. How nice would it be for the average Joe to get off work at 5 p.m. and get to enjoy some sunshine on his way home? How nice would it be to enjoy a warmer-than-usual weekend afternoon on your back porch, without losing the warmth of the sun seemingly halfway through the afternoon? Or to go drive or hike and take in the incredible scenery around our area with enough sunlight in the day to enjoy it in the winter?

If permanent daylight saving time is too confusing, simply move us onto Mountain time. Do we really need the sun starting to peek over the mountains at 4:30 a.m. in the middle of summer. If Reno is not on board, that’s not a problem. Take the time-zone line between Oregon and Idaho where it meets Nevada, and simply run it south until it hits the California border. We should have done this years ago.



Religious freedom

To the editor:

Steve Sebelius had a recent commentary that should be shared with every newspaper in this country, a scathing criticism of the resurrected Nevada Preservation of Religious Freedom Act that failed in 2013, and for good reason (“Not this bill again,” March 15 Review-Journal). As Mr. Sebelius points out, Republican Assemblymen Erv Nelson and John Ellison, and Republican state Sen. Joe Hardy now want to make yet another attempt to shred the First Amendment of the Constitution, which protects the religious freedom of all Americans.

I happen to like the Constitution as is and I don’t want anyone — especially politicians or corporations — interpreting my religion or denying me health care because said corporation doesn’t agree with my religious beliefs. I especially liked Mr. Sebelius’ last paragraph, which contained some very sound advice: “How about this: Stick with the First Amendment as written, which apparently worked well enough to protect religious freedom in America from 1791 all the way until 1993. Under that scheme, everybody follows the same rules, no matter their religious choice.”

I’m loving it, Mr. Sebelius. Thank you.



Water and new homes

To the editor:

We keep reading in the news that the Lake Mead water level is going down. So we are being told by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to only water our yards every three days at the most, and only for a couple of minutes each time.

Meanwhile, it seems like almost every day, there are advertisements for new homes — beautiful mansions with pools indoors and out. I assume somebody is giving companies permission to build as many mansions and huge houses as they’d like, regardless of whether those homes will use more water. Do all of these houses have some new technology that doesn’t use any water? Water-free homes?

If not, and if there is nobody to stop all of these homes from being built, all the water for the pools and fountains will come from Lake Mead, making the level drop even lower. I don’t see any way of stopping the water use, so I will just keep my watering to a tiny amount, so as to not overuse our share of the lake.



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