June Overview | A Historic Tax Increase, Presidential Politics, RIP Kerkorian

As summer kicks into triple-digit highs (is it hot enough for you, Nevada?), big news in the Battle Born state has not been lacking.
Under the ​leadership of​ Governor Sandoval, lawmakers passed a comprehensive tax bill that is estimated to raise an additional $1.3 billion for state coffers. Much of it is slated for improvements to our challenged public education system. The portfolio of taxes set to sunset at the end of this month were made permanent and will add about $375 million to $400 million over the next two years. The cigarette tax hike will add approximately $190 million over that same period. The new “commerce tax” levied on businesses with gross receipts above $4 million will add about $500 million to $510 million – but about half of that will be used to offset liabilities in Nevada’s payroll tax (aka the modified business tax or “MBT”). The commerce tax goes into effect July 1, but the economic impact will not be known for some time. We’ll be watching.
Last week, presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in Nevada wooing voters, and numerous Republican contenders are coming soon. On the national political stage, some guy named Trump also threw his bad hair into the ring. (Watch your backs, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The Donald is coming for you!) Nevada remains key in the presidential primaries as an early caucus state – and in case you didn’t know, we are also a bit of a national bellwether when it comes to presidential elections. Since 1900, the Silver State has voted with the winner of the Electoral College more than 89% of the time (26/29).
Just down the road in the City of Angels, Kirk Kerkorian, the movie mogul and casino tycoon who founded MGM Resorts International, died last week at age 98. Last month, Forbes magazine estimated Kerkorian’s wealth at $4.2 billion. The son of poor Armenian immigrants had little formal education; he dropped out of school at age 16. (Don’t tell your kids.) Philanthropists like Kerkorian are few and far between. RIP.
And as families across the nation​ hit the road for their summer vacations, average national gas prices hover at/around $2.80 a gallon. Nevada’s prices are a bit higher, but hopefully not so much as to be prohibitive. Safe travels – and be on the lookout for a new and improved platform for The Stat Pack. Our brand new website will launch soon and will include more frequent updates as we strive to bring you the latest in Nevada’s economic, financial and business news.

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