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Cronyism

WalletHub recently ranked the states on how “easy” it is to begin a new business — and Nevada came in at a dismal 35th nationwide. Strangely, however, WalletHub didn’t rank the state low because of its ridiculous occupational licensing requirements, business fees, commerce tax or other burdensome government costs. Instead, WalletHub’s analysis seemed to largely favor the amount of subsidies and taxpayer-funded handouts, claiming that such cronyism should be seen as a good thing for startups! Of course, such an approach demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the real world actually works. As NPRI Communication Director Michael Schaus points out, “encouraging businesses to get in bed with politics is not an effective way to promote broad economic growth.” (Read more)

 

Commerce tax

In 2014 Nevada voters made it clear that they didn’t want a new gross-receipts tax imposed on businesses. In fact, the so-called “Margins Tax” was rejected by 79 percent of Silver State voters. Despite this overwhelming disdain for a gross-receipts tax, however, lawmakers renamed it the “Commerce Tax” and forced it into law during the 2015 legislative session. Now, State Controller Ron Knecht is once again taking on the tax, by gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal the Commerce Tax. “Essentially, we are saying here’s what the Legislature passed, do you all agree?” Knecht said. (Read more)

 

Green energy

In 2017, at the request of solar-industry lobbyists, lawmakers reinstated favorable net-metering rates for solar customers — a process in which solar customers receive credits for excess energy created by the panels.  The practice had recently been pulled back over concerns that the credits, if artificially high, act effectively as a subsidy. At the very least, such net-metering mandates are just another example of why government should be less involved in energy markets to begin with. Despite the concerns, the more favorable rates were passed in the last legislative session — but the solar industry still isn’t happy. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes

Nevada keeps trying to figure out its recreational marijuana regulatory scheme, as a lawsuit continues over which businesses can legally distribute the drug — but that’s not the most interesting part of the saga. Dispensaries seem to be learning what most other people in business already know: Taxes and regulation are extraordinary burdens on companies. “Taxes, licensing, and other fees have already made it difficult to be profitable,” explained one dispensary. Another commented that the taxes and fees are driving the cost of legal marijuana too high, and “customers are already going [back] to the black market.” (Read more)

 

NPRI policy success:

The Nevada Policy Research Institute’s groundbreaking report on how Civil Asset Forfeiture is being used by Las Vegas Metro has proven extremely popular. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first major paper to cover the report, which identifies the Vegas Valley neighborhoods most targeted by law enforcement. Soon after the RJ’s coverage, it quickly became apparent that this kind of information has a national audience that transcends political and ideological lines. Released just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions began calling for the expansion of the often-abused policing tactic, the report attracted wide attention. From leftist publications such as The New Yorker to libertarian sites such as Reason.com, NPRI’s work has brought new attention to how, exactly, citizens are being impacted by the dubious practice. (Read the study here)


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