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William Epstein and William Thompson: The Reluctance to Tax Ourselves

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AIR DATE: May 14, 2010

UNLV Professors, William Thompson and William Epstein take phone calls and emails about their recent Review Journal opinion piece on Nevadans reluctance to tax themselves.

GUESTS
William Epstein, Prof of Social Work, UNLV
William Thompson, Prof of Public Admin, UNLV

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COMMENTS:
Dr. Epstein and Dr. Thompson raise salient points. Unfortunately, I know from experience Dr. Epstein talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. His treatment of people he considers his intellectual inferiors belies his passion for those in need. I wish I understood him better, because so much of what he says resonates with the facts.
Zechariah HillyardMay 14, 2010 11:11:31 AM
You can argue with some of the specifics of what was said; you can take issue with their tone. But there are truths to what they said. The lack of a reasonable education system and the absence of cultural life make Nevada an unreasonable choice for businesses and many highly skilled information industry workers. I've got all kinds of financial incentives to stay in Las Vegas. I make a fair amount of money here. But me and my family will be happy to make due with less in a community that offers more.
AGMay 13, 2010 13:55:56 PM
Profs. Epstein and Thompson have it just about half right, but no better than that. In my classes 50% is still not very good!

The half they have right includes, to steal from Tennessee Willaims "Nevadans have always depended on the stupidity of strangers".

They're also right about the stupidity of seniors who think it's not their civic duty to help pay for education. The part they have wrong is about taxes. Nevadans are not UNDER taxed, as our personal tax load is at 6.9%, right at 25 or 26 in the country, stateswise. What we have is an extremely low CORPORATE tax rate, which ranks us as 49 or 50 LOWEST in the country. Has that low corporate tax rate helped bring businesses here? Obviously not. Dr. Thompson lost all credibility with me by railing against Harry Reid trying (and succeeding) in SAVING jobs in Nevada. Would Dr. Thompson perhaps prefer the opposite? Will he vote for one of Reid's competitors, ALL of whom, unanimously, say they will NEVER raise taxes on ANYBODY.

That attitude on Dr. Thompson's part shows a lack of logic that is, well, terrifying, in an educator.

Finally, that $1100 per capita EXCESS that Nevadans spend on gaming totals to just about exactly a 3% state income tax, which would give the state budget a current SURPLUS.

HaroldMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
I appreciate your discussion of the need to pay for our own expenses. It is long overdue. I get tired of the standard of "no new tax pledges" The discussion should be on either no new programs or which programs should be disbanded. I think the discussion of school taxes should be on the reduction of programs for the elderly. In tight times money should be targeted to the young and young families and not the elderly.
RobertMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
Come on guys, this is Nevada! If Las Vegas did not exist, we would have to invent it. America - and quite possibly the world, needs (perhaps demands) a place to go where the rules are suspended. The confining policies of "elsewhere" encourage people to flee to the increasingly attractive personal, social, political, and policy freedoms Nevada offers. Pretending Nevada could, or should, be different is to lie to ourselves. If we wanted something different we could leave. If others want something different, so can they! In a a democratic society the people determine how to spend their money. It is their right to do so.
GaryMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
I came to this country 5 years ago with my grown up daughter who had already been through the British school system.

I would be very happy to pay more in taxes to see a better standard of education in our State's schools as those going through it represent our future.

I agree 100% with the professors.

ChrisMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
Not only are increased taxes a good idea, they are absolutely necessary in the coming days. In a place with no state income taxes, in order to insure our continued success as a state at some point we are going to have to pay up.
KeithMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
When you insinuate not providing medical attention to senior citizens based upon their position regarding additional education tax, it undermines your very valid point of social responsibility.
ChristianMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
The school systems are definitely being affected by the lack of taxes here. After having lived here for 8 years, with 3 small children now, it is now at the point where my husband and I feel that it may make more sense for us to move back to New York or California in order to have our children attend public schools that we can at least count on. The taxes are worth a better education.

Furthermore, our income is over $500,000 per year and I own a small business and my husband works for one and we do not save any significant amount by having our businesses here. I'd gladly pay more out in taxes to have more of a community and better infrastructure.

CarolineMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
Wrong on so many levels. The Profs speak of the 1500 a year gambling residents do. Do they speak of the average cost after graduation of college students? That they owe 35K? California taxes citizens. They are broke.

The profs gripe about bank bailouts....and the Reid wants help from the banks. Makes sense to me. Then there are the casinos. They gripe about parking attendants making 70k. Isn't that the Ameican Way? If you can make money honestly, you should keep it and not give it away to pay for college professors inflated salaries.

Steven LevineMay 13, 2010 00:00:00 AM
Why has no one suggested instituting a state income tax? How much revenue would be gained with a 1% income tax?
David ArisMay 13, 2010 09:27:16 AM
Come on guys, this is Nevada! If Las Vegas did not exist, we would have to invent it. America- and quite possibly the world, needs (perhaps demands) a place to go where the rules are suspended. The confining policies of "elsewhere" encourage people to flee to the increasingly attractive personal, social, political, and policy freedoms Nevada offers. Pretending Nevada could, or should, be different is to lie to ourselves. If we wanted something different we could leave. If others want something different, so can they!
Gary WatersMay 13, 2010 09:23:19 AM
Is it true that Nevada ranks among the lowest states in federal funds received, because the state refuses to match the federal funds. A requirement to get those federal funds.
richard smallMay 13, 2010 09:11:47 AM
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