Monday, July 07, 2003

Or maybe not

There might not be a resolution to the fiscal impasse after all. As further details of the Secret Plan to End the Budget War leaked out, a potential deal-killer emerged: A new, 2.5 percent business profits tax -- the same sort of new tax on non-gaming companies that's been rejected by Assembly Republicans numerous times before. While the Legislature will meet at noon to consider the proposal, it looks as if it will get no more than 26 votes in the lower house ... two too few to become law.

GOP members hinted they would back a tax plan if the profits tax were replaced by a higher payroll tax, but those appeals have fallen on deaf ears, so far. Make no mistake: The payroll tax has problems, too, primarily the fact that it would be extremely regressive, applying to only the first $20,000 or so of annual wages, hitting low-income workers the hardest. Plus, it could easily be considered a personal income tax, which is (the last time I checked) not allowed by the Nevada Constitution.

But those long-run concerns matter little right now. The insiders running this operation are as witless as ever. GOP lawmakers have always resisted the creation of a new revenue stream that could easily be manipulated to stifle capital and business growth ... and provide hefty new funding for the state's bloated public sector. The Carson City Gang still doesn't get it. So the Supreme Court may intervene after all.

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