STATE OF THE WEEK: In Nevada, Don’t Mess Up a Really Good Thing

By at 1 November, 2018, 11:17 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Small Business Policy Index 2018: Nevada ranked best – number 1 – among the 50 states.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Policy Index 2018” ranks the 50 states according to 55 different policy measures, including a wide array of tax, regulatory and government spending and performance measurements. 

Small Business Tax Index 2017: Nevada ranked best among the 50 states.  

SBE Council’s “Small Business Tax Index 2017” ranks the states according to 26 different tax measures. Among the taxes included are income, capital gains, property, death, unemployment, and various consumption-based taxes, including state gas and diesel levies.

Nevada Ranks #1 for Small Business on Policy – Will the Next Governor’s Policies Keep it That Way?

Voters in Nevada will select a new governor on November 6 – with the two major party candidates being Republican Adam Laxalt and Democrat Steve Sisolak. When looking at where Nevada ranks among the states in terms of its policy climate for entrepreneurship and small business, it’s hard to resist sending a simple message or request to the candidates: Don’t mess up a really good thing.

Specifically, on the Small Business Policy Index 2018: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which I write for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Nevada came in at number one, that is, the best state for encouraging entrepreneurship. It also ranked best on the “Small Business Tax Index 2017.”

The “Small Business Policy Index” serves up the most comprehensive comparison of the states in terms of policy decisions affecting the economy.  Among the reasons that for Nevada’s #1 ranking was the fact that the state does not impose personal, individual capital gains, corporate income, corporate capital gains and death taxes. In addition, Nevada inflicts fairly low property taxes and workers’ compensation costs, and the second lowest wireless taxes. And among the positives in terms of the size of government, Nevada has the lowest level of state and local government employment, the third lowest per capita state and local government spending trend, and the third lowest level of state and local government spending. These are major positives for the state’s economy.

Of course, as is the case with every government, there are some negatives. For example, the current governor, Brian Sandoval (R), led the charge for a major tax increase in 2015, which included a gross-receipts tax, or the Commerce Tax.

On his campaign website’s issues page, Laxalt stated, “As Governor, I will oppose all efforts to increase Nevadans’ tax burden, and will also look for ways we can reduce taxes — starting with the Commerce Tax passed in 2015, which I opposed at the time and will seek to repeal.”

Meanwhile, under the “Economy” section on his issues page, Sisolak tended to emphasize government intervention over government getting out of the way. For example, it is stated, “He’ll build on his record of bringing people together to deliver job-creating projects like the new stadium and convention center to southern Nevada.” Stadiums and convention centers are not engines of economic growth.

The key for Nevada is to keep the growth of government in check; maintain its formidable benefits, particularly, no income-based taxes; and work to roll back existing tax and regulatory burdens.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.

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