Tax hike needed to grow Nevada’s economy

To the editor:

Tuesday’s editorial, “The high costs of unfair tax increases,” makes reference to four tax increases in four other states that bear no resemblance to the tax increases being contemplated by the likes of Nevada university system Chancellor Jim Rogers or the teachers union. These contemplated taxes, unlike those described in the editorial, will not drive business from Nevada even if there are some taxes in other jurisdictions that cause some businesses to seek low-tax environments. A tax on business earnings in this state with a substantial exemption to protect small business could raise hundreds of millions of dollars at time when our other taxes are failing to raise the revenues this state needs to maintain and grow its economy and quality of life.

Such a tax program would ask low- and middle-income earners, even moderately high income earners, to pay none of such tax. And given the decrease in sales tax revenues, these new taxes would not amount to a tax increase, but rather a replacement of one form of tax revenue that is dwindling.

The bottom line to the editor, however, is that all taxes are bad because, we are told, they drive business to other jurisdictions, while our current low tax burden is a “huge reason” for Nevada’s growth. (It can’t possibly be that our growth is due to good marketing of Nevada as a tourist/gambling mecca with a low cost of living and a good climate!)

Further, no analysis is made of the potentially disastrous impact on business that results when the labor pool becomes more and more undereducated because revenue shortfalls result in education budget cuts totaling 22.5 percent over two biennia. And no concern is expressed for the impact on residents’ quality of life from budget cuts made in lieu of replacement of revenues.

But woe is us if the Legislature were to approve new forms of taxes to replace the revenue necessary to cover those same needs contained in a budget proposed by a Republican governor and passed by a Republican state Senate. Somehow, the needs we had when the budget was passed last year have become less important than they were then when the only change is that revenues from gaming and sales taxes haven’t met expectations and the only other solution is a replacement tax mechanism.

Not to worry, the Review-Journal will shout “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” to scare the population into blindly supporting its editorial position that all taxes are bad.

Hank Stone

LAS VEGAS

THE WRITER IS COUNSEL AND DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE PLANNING FOR THE NEVADA SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

Arctic oil

To the editor:

In response to S.G. Hayes’ Tuesday letter on oil drilling in a “small area” of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: The refuge coastal plane is the ecological heart and wildlife oasis of the entire refuge. It is, in the words of the great naturalist Peter Matthiessen, “the Earth’s last sanctuary of the great Ice Age fauna that includes all three North American bears, gray wolves and wolverines, musk ox, moose, and, in the summer, the Porcupine River herd of caribou, 120,000 strong.”

Drilling there would only continue, not reduce, our dependence on fossil fuels. It is on the oil industry’s wish list despite estimates that doing so would yield less oil than what the United States consumes in one year.

It’s time to take action and contact your senators and urge them to co-sponsor the Arctic Refuge Wilderness Bill and permanently protect our country’s last great wilderness.

Howard Olson

LAS VEGAS

Sleight of tongue

To the editor:

Magician David Copperfield’s sleight of hand is amateurish compared with Sen. Barack Obama’s sleight of tongue.

Speaking in Las Vegas at the Springs Preserve on Tuesday, Sen. Obama, D-Ill., criticized Republican Sen. John McCain’s energy proposals and noted that coastal drilling for oil would have no immediate effect on high gasoline prices.

Sen. Obama is correct, but only because of his sleight of tongue. No one expects future drilling to result in lower gasoline prices today. However, coastal drilling beginning next year would effect gasoline prices in future years. That’s the relevant point, senator.

Dan Kane

LAS VEGAS

Takes too long

To the editor:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and his cohorts argue that we shouldn’t develop our own oil resources now because it would take up to five years to begin production and bring it to market.

Maybe we should also close our universities, because it takes at least four years to graduate, or, better yet, close all our medical schools because it takes at least five years to graduate and go through residency so one can practice medicine.

Corinne Baer

LAS VEGAS

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