Support business taxes

The late humorist Will Rogers once said, “All I know is just what I read in the papers.” If he were alive today, he would know that Nevada faces a huge budget crisis. He’d know that we severely under-fund education and social services.

Headlines tell the story: “Nevada among 10 worst states for kids’ well-being.” “State rated low on education funding.” “Bleak statistics tarnish Nevada’s glitter.” These are real headlines, and there are many more like them.

That’s why the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada supports Gov. Kenny Guinn’s tax proposal, which includes a business tax.

Forty-six states tax business income. Nevada does not. This is a huge hole in our budget. Out-of-state corporations such as Wal-Mart and Bank of America pay virtually no state taxes in Nevada. However, they pay these taxes in other states and remain profitable. All of our neighboring Western states have a business tax. And, they are at higher rates than Gov. Guinn has proposed for Nevada.

Our businesses demand better-educated employees. Yet, they refuse to support education through businesses taxes. This is wrong.

Nevada needs to increase taxes to adequately fund educational and social safety net programs.

How bad is the budget shortfall? Last summer, the state had to postpone buying textbooks for students. A June newspaper article stated, “The state Board of Examiners held off on buying new algebra textbooks for eighth-graders after Gov. Guinn said he needed the money to balance the state budget.”

How bad is it? Our textbooks are out-of-date. My daughter brought home a textbook that I used in high school 25 years ago. We’re teaching ancient history when we’re supposed to be teaching science.

How bad is it? The Census Bureau ranks Nevada as 46th in per pupil spending. Nevada is at the bottom of the barrel with poor states such as Mississippi.

How bad is it? We’re dead last in per capita Medicaid funding. And, if we cut back on Medicaid, poor people will end up at county hospital emergency rooms. That’s an expensive way to provide health care. It also unfairly shifts healthcare costs from the state to the counties.

How bad is it in Nevada? The New York Times said it best, “Pick almost any index of social well-being, and Nevada ranks at or near the very bottom of the 50 states, though it ranks near the top in personal wealth.”

It is not a question of cutting out massive waste. Nevada has a real budget shortfall.

Our lawmakers need to raise taxes. And they need to do it fairly. Businesses are not paying their fair share. The working poor are paying more than their fair share. If we impose a sales tax on services, it will hurt the working poor even more. It’s time for businesses to start paying their fair share.

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada urges you to call your lawmakers. Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them to support Gov. Guinn’s tax proposal.