Ralston finally answers the original question

Victor Joecks

If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, these previous posts will explain it all: “Ralston calls for a magic tax increase,” “Ralston and taxes and Twitter! Oh my!” and “Watch the magic happen: NPRI responds to Ralston.”

In response to the letter to the editor that Geoffrey Lawrence and I sent to the Las Vegas Sun yesterday, Ralston posted the following on Twitter:

Lack-of-thought tank refuses to acknowledge it proposed new tax, claims I proposed one (!) and whines about criticism. http://bit.ly/hZaur3

Let’s ignore the gratuitous jab and go right to the substance of his comment.

First, as I’ve written before, NPRI has proposed an expansion of the sales-tax base with a corresponding reduction in the rate – that’s an expansion of an existing tax, not the proposal of a new one.

But Ralston’s comment still fails to answer the simple question I asked him in an e-mail last week, in response to his reference in his column to “some form of new business levy that would not crush folks in this economy.” I asked: “What type of tax are you referring to?

As for Ralston’s suggestion that NPRI is falsely claiming he proposed a tax increase? Ralston himself says he “suggested” a business tax in that column.

The good news is that in his next two tweets, Ralston finally answers the original question (which NPRI’s letter noted he had not yet answered).

RalstonFlash: All I suggested was “some form” of biz tax that would not crush businesses, just as NPRI did (sales tax on services). What form? Many exist.

RalstonFlash: As for panoply of taxes beyond NPRI’s idea to impose new tax, they include franchise taxes, gross receipts (exempt most small biz), more.

Although it took a column, several blog posts and many tweets, I’d like to thank Jon for answering the question.

Now that the specific tax ideas have been identified, NPRI will be able to show the negative impacts they would have on businesses, especially with a shrinking labor force and unemployment above 14 percent.

I was going to begin that discussion in this post, but the evidence I had was pushing the post length towards Bill Simmons’ word count, so please look for future posts addressing how Ralston’s specific tax suggestions (and others that are being considered) would negatively impact Nevadans and businesses.