A poll published February 3 in the Nevada Independent showed that most Silver State voters favor a casino tax increase that would support public education, but don’t want a sales tax hike for the same purpose. The measure is backed by the teachers’ union.
The online poll was conducted by the Independent and OH Predictive Insights from January 19 to January 26. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Voters favored a plan that would raise the gaming tax rate for larger casinos from 6.75 percent to 9.75 percent.
Of the 59 percent supporting the casino tax increase, roughly half said they would “definitely” support the measure, while the remaining half said they would “probably” vote for it. Of 25 percent opposed, just over half (about 14 percent of the total) said they would “probably” vote against it, while the remainder (about 11 percent of the total) said they would definitely oppose it.
Among Democrats, 75 percent of respondents said they would support it, with 10 percent opposed. Opinions were more split among Republicans, who fell 41 percent in support and 43 percent opposed. Independents also tended toward support, with 59 percent for and 23 percent opposed.
Nevada has one of the lowest gaming tax rates in the country, though the increase has been criticized by the Nevada Resort Association, which sued to stop the measure in early 2020 and characterized the change as a “44 percent tax increase” on the gaming industry.
But the other initiative—one that would raise the state’s baseline sales tax to 8.35 percent to help fund education, effectively making the tax among the highest nationwide—was unpopular across all demographic groups.
“When you tie a tax to a discretionary item or vice item to education, pretty much all of them are always in the 60 percent range from my experience,” said Mike Noble, chief of research and managing partner of OH Predictive Insights.
The ballot initiatives were first proposed in early 2020 by the Clark County Education Association. According to the Independent, they “were used in part as a bargaining chip in the 2021 legislative session, where Democratic lawmakers … eventually let both initiatives die without any legislative action, in effect sending both to the ballot.
“Democrats later conceded to union leader’s requests to raise taxes legislatively, imposing an additional tax on the mining industry to support education,” the publication reported.