In his Sunday column, Wayne Root says, “I love Nevada. It’s my adopted state for more than 15 years now. I spent the first 40 years of my life living in New York and California. Those are the high-tax places that people are running away from in droves.”
I am a California transplant, and I too love Nevada. But let’s not kid ourselves by believing that we live in a low-tax state. I would simply ask the question: If our taxes are so low, then how do we conduct business in the manner we do? Who pays for police, fire, roads and other critical governmental functions?
The answer, of course, is that we are a high-tax place just like California. The only difference is that a significant part of those taxes is paid by people who live in places other than Nevada. That’s right, tourism pays our taxes. If you don’t believe me look at the itemized charges for staying in a Nevada hotel. Look at the itemized charges for a rental car. Consider the tax paid for live performances in our entertainment-centric state.
We live in a state that has this unusual situation in which many of its taxes are paid by others. Make no mistake that our low-tax status is a result of our having long ago legalized gambling and entertainment and not because of some superior way of governance. Without our entertainment-centric economy, we would be paying these taxes out of our own pockets just like the citizens in every other state.