DMV tax cut

February 19th, 2007

I agree that the car registration tax should be slashed, along with property taxes, sales taxes, phone and utilities taxes, etc.  Our legislators need to get out of the mentality of trying to provide aid and comfort, housing, transportation, food and health care to all of the Silver State’s residents.  We used to call that communism.  Now it’s called bi-partisanship.

Another thing to watch out for is the REAL ID act and its requirements to the states to change the driver’s license to a national standard.  In an ironic twist, the DMV stated that such changes would cause lines at their offices to wind out the door and down the street, causing waits of 8-10 hours.  That’s not far off from what we have now.  It’s time to privatize many of the DMV’s functions and operations, thereby improving access and service levels while lowering the cost.  Why are legislators so slow to grasp this concept?

Beers and Tax Relief for Nevada

February 17th, 2007

Rarely is there good news out of Carson City during the legislative session (unless you’re a government union employee or a well-connected special interest), so I was delighted to read in today’s R-J that State Senator Bob Beers has proposed a 50% cut in the car registration tax. Hallelujah! People should be shouting from the rooftops in support of this bill. Saving you a couple hundred dollars a year is tantamount to the cost of gasoline dropping from $2.50 a gallon to $2.09 per gallon!
According to the article, “A bill introduced by state Sen. Bob Beers on Thursday would cut in half the taxes people pay when they register their motor vehicles every year.”
“Senate Bill 93 would eliminate the revenues from what is called the Basic Governmental Services Tax that now go to counties, cities and other local government agencies across the state. The equal share that goes to local school districts would remain.”
Of course the cities and counties are whining about it. Boo-hoo and sob, sob. Counties like Clark and Washoe are flush in revenues since property values skyrocketed in the last 3 years. Which means property tax revenues and real property transfer taxes skyrocketed as well.

This practical but doomed tax reduction would give us beleaguered taxpayers a refund of $281 million to spend, save, or invest the way we see fit, instead of it being given to the nanny-state know-it-alls up in Carson City. I’m sure this measure will be killed by the liberal Ds and Rs in the legislature because they know better than you how to spend your money. They want to “invest” in the “common good,” instead of what’s good for the common man.

So pick up the phone or send an email to your representative and demand your share of the $281 million they squander every year. And then two years from now, let’s go after the other half of the registration tax.

Welcome to the BWN blog.

February 17th, 2007

Welcome, readers and liberty-loving activists. This blog is dedicated to reviewing and commenting on Nevada news, particularly as it relates to government largesse at the state and local levels. Obviously that’s a tall order, but we’ll do our best.
We look forward to your comments and feedback.

State of the State address

February 17th, 2007

Governor Gibbons’ State of the State address on January 22 deserves more commentary than the simple and predictable “Democratic Response” from Barbara Buckley. How about a non-partisan “Taxpayer’s Response” to the speech?

For those of us who see unbounded government reach and control in our lives, the address was simply a confirmation of our worst fears: the governor and legislators see themselves as omniscient, grand operators with the ability to improve most aspects of our lives through better programs, new committees, and more of our money. They are the chess masters and we citizens are merely pawns to be played to satisfy their designs for an imagined utopia in the Silver State.

There were some glimmers of conservative ideology, which I’ll mention later, but they were minimal in comparison to calls for greater government participation in your life.

Governor: “To protect ourselves from man-made or natural catastrophes in the future, we must set aside money to shield our citizens from harm.”

BWN Response: Thank you, most powerful protector of all Nevadans. Sorry, you cannot “protect” or “shield” us from unanticipated economic or terrorist events. Just let us keep more of our own money and we’ll save for a rainy day on our own without your “help.”

Governor: “Key among the Nevada workforce are dedicated public employees, including state employees, university employees and teachers. We must continue to invest in this important group of workers, and I am proposing a six percent increase in pay for these hardworking individuals.”

BWN Response: What about the vast majority of Nevada’s workforce, private citizens employed by private sector businesses? These are the people who pay the bills and who compete in the level playing field of a fee market. How about “investing” in them by reducing the size and cost of government? Are you saying that government employees are more important than the rest of us?

Governor: (Regarding methamphetamines) “…This is the colossal struggle of our times…. I have placed in this budget . . . $17 million … toward fighting the scourge of methamphetamines.”

BWN: The colossal struggle? Funny, I thought that alcohol, smoking, and heart disease were the scourge on health of Nevadans. I stand corrected. Seventeen million dollars of taxpayers’ money seems like a lot to provide a public pet project for your wife, Dawn. With the untold millions already being misspent in Nevada on the ridiculous “war on drugs,” there are plenty of resources in place – they can just add meth to their long list of dangerous substances used to demonize and criminalize victimless users.

Governor: “A top priority of my Administration will be to develop more affordable housing in Nevada . . . we must do something about it . . . [and] establish a program to support the housing needs of teachers, nurses . . . . Let’s start a similar program so we can help all Nevadans achieve the American dream of home ownership.”

BWN: So what you’re saying is that despite the record levels of homeownership in Nevada, the government needs to step in and help the people in the margins because they are too stupid or incompetent to do it on their own. Or that nobody should have to live in an apartment or rental home. Try this, Mr. Governor: start with reducing or eliminating the extremely burdensome regulations placed on builders and contractors, or lower property taxes, or eliminate the very costly real property transfer tax. Or ask the federal government to sell off more of the land they manage, which would keep the price of land from skyrocketing.

The governor goes on to posit how he can help improve the state of education, health care, transportation, mental health care, economic development, energy resources, job growth, and protecting us from sexual predators, all with the beneficent hand of government control and power. All of these things may sound good to some people, and certainly to legislators who love to solve problems with blanket programs and laws. But at what cost? And who’s going to pay for it?

In under 50 minutes with this speech, Governor Gibbons listed $522.6 million in ADDITIONAL spending, beyond what was already in the normal budget. That’s $10,452,000 per minute!

On the upside, Gibbons did include some common-sense and market-driven ideas that would be great for Nevada if actually implemented, including:
• Proposing to eliminate the per-branch excise tax on banks
• Lower the modified business tax (although way, way too little of a drop)
• Calling on the legislature to pass a bill to prohibit the government from taking private property without the consent of the owner
• Seeking a public-private effort in improving NDOT projects
• Not raising the gas tax (I’d like to see him push to lower it)

His best quote was the following, “I believe it is my job to foster a business climate that encourages investment in our state and to have government help when necessary and get out of the way where possible.” Unfortunately, he gave no examples. Rhetoric without action is what we are accustomed to – let’s see some real radical change, not more of the status quo.

Abolish the LVCVA

February 17th, 2007

Kudos to Governor Gibbons for publicly questioning the necessity of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The organization, known by many only for its famous catchphrase, “What happens here, stays here,” spends tens of millions of dollars each year on expensive ad campaigns and promoting LV to convention planners and tourists.

The problem with this operation is that it is funded by a hotel room tax, a fee paid by millions of people who would come here anyway and may not have ever seen a TV or newspaper ad for our fair city.

The bigger problem is that the LVCVA promotes use of the Las Vegas Convention Center by convention planners. The Convention Center is a competitor to the newer convention facilities at the Sands/Venetian and Mandalay Bay, among others. So those named hotels and their captive customers MUST PAY the tax to support, in effect, their competition. This is a patently unfair situation, one typical of government-knows-best mentality and one that is a classic example of an entrenched, politically juiced-in organization that has long outlived its usefulness.

Let’s support the Governor in pushing to abolish the LVCVA, or at least reducing it to a size that is funded by its management services to the L.V. Convention Center.
By kicking out this taxpayer-subsidized monopoly, and the free market kicking in with marketing LV’s best assets, you will see more and better promotions than ever before. And instead of paying a tax for which they get no benefit, our valued tourists/conventioneers/visitors will spend that extra money elsewhere in our economy.

February 16th, 2007