Having his cake and eating it too

Geoffrey Lawrence

Governor Gibbons created a budget that included a $292 million tax increase in the form of a room tax hike in Clark and Washoe Counties.  The value of that tax has since been downgraded to $233 million.  However, the governor, after including the tax hike in his budget will now refuse to sign the bill implementing the tax hike.  By not signing it within 5 days, he will allow the bill to go into effect automatically.

According to the governor's communications director, "It would violate his principles by signing a tax increase.  He won't veto it. He will abide by the decision of the people." 

So why did he build a budget that would rely on the tax hike? 

The governor appears to be playing games with the voters of Nevada, who put him in office in large part due to his pledge to not raise taxes.  It's easy to talk about no tax increases when coffers are flush, but perhaps less so when resources are limited and the governor's office is forced to set priorities and make tough decisions.

For now, it looks like the governor wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.