Not at all. Gambling must
pay for the impacts of the growth and attendant community
problems it stimulates. Compared to other industries, the
creation of low-wage gambling jobs creates the need for
expanded government services. The Guinn-Hunt Administration
study (linked below) by their Nevada Commission on Economic
Development study proves it. If gambling were paying its
fair share for the impacts of the growth it causes and from
which it benefits, state and local governments would not
suffer constant financial crises. Even Gov. Guinn's staff
admits that new government revenues are needed.
Senator Neal's speech
before the Nevada Taxpayers Association contains a detailed and
compelling case, including charts and graphs showing gaming's
percentage on a downward slide while expanding population outstrips
the capacity of government to serve it.
When linked to the Nevada
Commission on Economic Development study which shows that
low-wage gambling jobs create an inordinate demand for expanded
government services, the argument becomes irrefutable.
No less than former U.S. Sen.
Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., has decried the growth in low-wage Las
Vegas gambling jobs.
These conflicting forces have
strained Nevada to a breaking point. Even a casino-elected
Republican governor has recognized the need for new taxation.
Gov. Guinn's first chief of staff, former Assemblyman Peter
Ernaut, R-Reno, noted that the needs of just the Clark County
School District and state Medicaid foreshadow an annual
state deficit of over $700 million per year. See the Las
Vegas Sun story.
Clark County itself faces
a $698 million shortfall in the near future. See the story
at the Las
Vegas Business Press.
Casino taxes were last raised
14 years ago in 1987. (The state then delayed for three
years collecting even that small increase.) Since that time,
Nevada's population has nearly doubled and school enrollment
has increased by 85%. Most of Nevada's growth is due to
the expansion of the gambling industry. The tax burden on
individual Nevadans has increased during the past 13 years
to help pay for the costs of growth. A few examples:
- Property taxes in Las Vegas
have increased approximately 20%
- Gasoline taxes in Clark County
have increased 66%
- The vehicle privilege tax has
- School support taxes have increased
Not only have casinos had
no tax increase during this time, but the share they contribute
to the state budget has dropped. The state budget has increased
300% since 1987. Revenues from sales and use taxes have
also increased by 300%. Revenue from gaming has increased
The costs to Nevada that result
from gambling's growth are going up. The dollars which casinos
pay toward those costs is going down. In 1987 money from
gaming taxes made up 17% of the total funds in the state
budget. In 1999 they accounted for only 10%. Maybe that's
why the casino industry could afford to spend over $22 million
in an effort to defeat the Indian gambling initiative on
California's ballot in 1998 -- which passed anyway. Now,
they are using their record profits (up 6.4% in 2000) to
invest in Golden State casinos.
Clark County (which includes
Las Vegas) faces a shortfall in the near future. Yet the
gambling industry can afford to spend $5 billion on new
and expanded casinos in Nevada.
Not only is an additional
4% reasonable, it still leaves Nevada's casinos paying far
lower taxes than casinos in other states and countries.