Poll: 90 percent of Nevadans don’t know Sandoval supports the largest tax increase in state history

Victor Joecks

In his quest to enact the largest tax increase in state history, Gov. Brian Sandoval is using his personal popularity as his primary weapon.

Tomorrow morning, the Senate is set to vote on Senate Bill 252, the Governor’s proposal to implement a Gross-Receipts Business License Tax, a modified version of the margin tax. This vote comes just months after voters rejected the margin tax 4-to-1 in November. 

Recently, the Nevada Jobs Coalition, a PAC closely connected with Sandoval, released a poll showing that Sandoval has a 79 percent job approval rating.

The subtext of the PAC’s poll is clear: Sandoval is popular and Sandoval supports the largest tax increase in state history. Lawmaker, if you too want to be popular, you should support the Gross Receipts Business License Tax too, despite the clear message sent by voters. 

What that poll leaves out is that Sandoval isn’t popular because he’s advocating the exact opposite of what voters said they wanted (or in the case of the margin tax, what they didn’t want) only months ago. He’s popular because he has spent millions promoting himself with a campaign message of “Better Schools, No New Taxes.”

A poll released today by the Nevada Policy Research Institute shows that 90 percent of Nevadans don’t know that Sandoval is now advocating for the very opposite: the largest tax increase in state history. 

The poll, conducted by Google Consumer Surveys in March, finds that 89.4 percent of those surveyed either don’t know that Sandoval supports the largest tax increase in Nevada history or mistakenly think the Governor supports keeping taxes low. Only 10.6 percent of the 381 respondents correctly said Gov. Brian Sandoval supports the largest tax increase in Nevada history.

This new poll shows that Sandoval’s personal popularity isn’t transferable to his signature tax increase, because the vast majority of Nevadans don’t know he supports it.  

SB252 — the Governor’s Gross-Receipt BLT — would increase taxes on businesses that are losing money. This would drive struggling businesses out of business and destroy jobs. It would also create tax pyramiding – where the tax is assessed many times on the same product. This encourages companies to consolidate, violating the good taxation principle of neutrality.

According to Sandoval’s own witness, economist Jeremy Aguero, SB252 doesn’t solve the tax pyramiding problems inherent in gross receipts taxation. These structural problems are part of the reason why the Tax Foundation has said that, “There is no sensible case for gross receipts taxation.”

Sandoval’s staff says that they’ve modeled this tax after Texas, but earlier this month, Texas held a hearing to eliminate its margin tax. Texas wants to eliminate this tax because of the many problems Texas businesses have had with this tax. This includes 20 percent of small businesses having to lay off employees the year after the margin tax was implemented.

Nevada and its job-creating businesses don’t need another job-killing tax. What Nevada needs is fundamental reform, like universal Education Savings Accounts or paying top teachers in failing schools premium wages, instead of paying more for more of the same.

If you’d like to contact your Senator before he or she votes on this bill tomorrow morning, the contact information for every Senator is below.


Victor Joecks is Executive Vice President at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan, free market think tank.