Letters to the editor of the 3-14-2K Reno
From: Nanna R. Rassu
Todays Reno Gazette has a number of negative
letters with misinformation. We all need to combat this kind
of biased reporting now! His tax is 11%, not 80%, and is only
on casinos making a profit of $1m a month! 45% of what they collect
will go to schools---not mentioned. There are 5 other groups
that get a lesser % of the tax. This kind of misinformation will
be accepted by the general public as "gospel" truth.
Pass the word around to everyone you know.
Dear Ms. Rassu:
Thanks for the support. I've made Sen.
Neal aware your response.
Positioning the casino tax proposal as
an 80% increase was announced in January by Nevada Resort Assn.
chief Bill Bible as the focus of the industry campaign to kill
the initiative petition. Sen. Neal, in his two TV debates with
industry spokeswoman Jan Jones, pointed out that her employer,
Harrah's, at its Detroit casino, pays a gross gaming tax 460%
higher than they pay in Nevada.
Please keep in mind that Nevada does NOT
tax casinos on profits (income left over after expenses), as
the IRS does. Like other states, Nevada taxes *gross* revenue.
The gaming tax comes off the top and is thus not be victimized
by Hollywood-style accounting which tries to report zero net
profits for tax purposes, e.g., taking as tax-deductible expenses
Steve Wynn's posh homes and private jets also noted in the 3-14
As I wrote in my Reno News & Review
column of 2-10-2K, "Trumping
the Donald," the Eldorado and Silver Legacy NET PROFIT
(after expenses) is, conservatively calculated, about $72 million
per year. Imagine what their gross volume must be to generate
such huge profits.
As Sen. Neal has pointed out many times,
other states force casinos to publicly disclose their financial
data. In Nevada, the industry has pushed adoption of secrecy
laws so that no casino has to disclose its actual gross. Net
profits, like the above, can be calculated using property tax
data. Casino property taxes are based on their net profits.
Sen Neal's initiative will affect only
the largest operations in Reno-Sparks: the Nugget, Harrah's,
Cal-Neva, Eldorado/SilverLeg/Circus, Hilton, et al. Only big
clubs in Washoe, Clark and Douglas counties will fall under the
The letters in the 3-14 Gazette-Journal
were obviously part of the industry's organized campaign. Three
of the four used the 80% number.
I especially like this passage in the letter
from one Bev Davis of Reno: "How does he (Neal) expect a
casino to continue to pay its expenses, to provide a living wage
and benefits for its employees?"
The problem is that casinos DON'T pay living
wages to many of their workers. The Nevada Commission on Economic
Development study, accessible from the front page of JoeNeal.org,
shows how low-wage casino jobs drive up taxes through government
spending to pick up the slack. Reno's St. Vincent's Dining Room
feeds a lot of full time casino workers every day and has done
so for many years.
In a recent interview with the Las Vegas
Review-Journal, accessible from both JoeNeal.org and NevadaLabor.com,
former Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., decried the proliferation of
low-wage gambling jobs.
Ms. Davis adds "smaller casinos would
really be devastated as some of these struggle to stay in business
today." The smaller ones would not be affected and would
continue to pay taxes as they currently do at the lowest rates
in the world.
For any given month, Nevada casinos owe
taxes according to this schedule:
More than $134,000, 6-1/4%
The above progressive structure, unchanged
since the 1980s, currently yields an effective tax rate of about
6.2%, easily the lowest in the world. Sen. Neal proposes a fourth
tier. Income from $134,000 to $1 million would remain taxed at
6-1/4%, but income above $1 million per month would be taxed
at 11-1/4%. It would affect 107 casinos in three counties: Clark
(Las Vegas); Washoe (Reno-Sparks) and Douglas (S. Lake Tahoe).
Sen. Neal proposed a two percent increase
during the 1999 legislative session. Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno,
recommended that gambling industry lobbyists discuss the matter
with Sen. Neal, D-North Las Vegas. The industry refused and ordered
the bill assassinated. If 2 percentage points were too much last
year and a 5 point increase is too much now, what's fair? Please
note that Nevada communities statewide are raising property taxes
and pushing special taxes to pay for growth. You'll find news
stories about them linked at JoeNeal.org.
Rumor has it that the industry is going
to put out its own study showing that it is paying its fair share.
I hope they send a copy to Gov. Guinn and Lt. Gov Hunt whose
Commission on Economic Development study does not agree.
Thanks for your interest.
Be well. Raise hell.