State Report NV 1: Nevada Report
by Anita L. Joule
Nevada can be a fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. It offers ample opportunities to indulge in guns, gambling, and girls. One would think that a state with legalized gambling and prostitution would be extremely liberty oriented. This however is not the case in many areas that FSP members would be interested in.
One area of concern is the hostile homeschooling regulations. For a child to be legally exempted from compulsory attendance in a government (public) school, the parent may seek a waiver of attendance by submitting a "Notification of Intent to Provide Home Instruction" form. This form must be accompanied by "evidence to the local school district that their child will be receiving appropriate instruction at home." The following criteria are considered evidence of qualification for providing "appropriate instruction."
- A teacher, other than the parent, who possesses a NV teaching license OR;
- The parent, when a parent qualifies for a teaching license for the grade level to be taught OR;
- The parent, in consultation with a person who possesses a teaching license or who has provided instruction in the home for the grade level to be taught for at least three years OR;
- The parent, when the child is enrolled in an approved (licensed by the state board) correspondence program.
Another area of concern for many is the fairly strict marijuana regulations. It has been said that you can get falling down drunk, frequent the whore houses, and lose all you money in the casinos, but let them find a single marijuana seed in your ashtray and its off to jail you go.
Fortunately there has been some progress in this area. According to NORML, the decriminalization of marijuana in Nevada has begun. "The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation." There has also been progress in medical marijuana legislation in Nevada. For Nevadans, "the law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who have 'written documentation' from their physician that marijuana may alleviate his or her condition."
Even so, the fines for misdemeanor marijuana violation are fairly high and subsequent violations result in increasingly harsh fines and eventual incarceration. This however, applies only to adults, age 21 and older. Those who are under 21 years and possess less than 1 oz on their first or second offense, will be found guilty of a felony, punishable by one to four years of incarceration. Additionally, anyone found in possession of paraphernalia is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail and paraphernalia sale is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 and 1-4 years in jail.
Nevada State Demographer estimates the state population at 2,066,831 indicating that Nevada's population has passed the limit originally set for our target states. Nevada's population growth over the past decade makes it the fastest growing state in the nation. Population increase estimates for 2010 would place the total statewide population at approximately 2,710,000 far exceeding our population limits for the project.
This leads to another obvious concern, employment in Nevada. As reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Nevada ranks 33rd among the states with a jobless rate of 5.5 percent. The 1.1 percent annual job growth pitted against the projected average population growth of 2.6%. An influx of 20,000 unexpected and unforeseen new residents flooding into the state could spell disaster for Nevada as well as the FSP.
In 1981, Nevada switched from a property-tax based system, to one based on gaming and sales taxes. But those tax revenues are highly susceptible to economic downturns -- a problem some classify as a structural defect that will result in a $1.2 billion deficit in coming years.
The Nevada Task Force on Tax Policy, created by the Legislature when the 2001 session ended without any major proposals to address the state's economic shortfall that currently sits at $270 million, is readying a recommendation that is expected to propose:
- Creating a broad-based business tax.
- Increasing the current cap on how much property tax a local government can charge.
- Expanding what's covered under the sales tax.
- Increasing "sin taxes" such as those on cigarettes and alcohol.
- Increasing certain fees businesses pay and possibly ask voters to approve a lottery.
Pro-business Nevada has a constitutional prohibition on income taxes. The state does not tax the income of its corporations or its state's citizens. A Nevada corporation is also not subject to any other hidden taxes such as franchise taxes, capital stock taxes, or inventory taxes. Sales tax applies only to products sold within the state.
Selected Taxes Common to Many of the 50 States But Not Nevada
|Type of Tax||Number of States Using|
Because Nevada has no state income tax, and because Nevada does not keep much information on their own residents or their corporations, it has steadfastly refused IRS requests for reciprocity. Most other states freely exchange all of the information they have on every resident and corporation.
Nevada has developed a corporate structure that is unique. Nevada began with corporate statutes based on Delaware's and then went further, establishing a corporate structure that allows investors and owners of Nevada corporations to remain completely private. Since these changes in Nevada's statutes came into effect in 1991 the number of new incorporations in Nevada has exploded.
To ensure privacy, Nevada is the only state that allows its corporations to use bearer stock certificates. It is virtually impossible to prove the ownership of a Nevada corporation handled in this manner. Since the state does not require a corporation to list with it the corporation's vice-president(s), a vice-president utilizing bearer shares can have complete control and ownership while remaining anonymous.
Currently Nevada is experiencing a medical crisis caused by the withdrawal of the largest medical malpractice carrier from the Nevada malpractice insurance market. The company, which had covered 60 percent of the state's doctors, cited large malpractice awards. Nevada's only top-level trauma center closed for 10 days earlier this month in Las Vegas after 58 orthopedic doctors temporarily quit. Legislators are considering a number of proposals.
President Bush formally approved Nevada's Yucca Mountain as the nation's high-level nuclear waste dump on 7/24/02, ending a 20-year political fight and shifting the battle to the courts. "Our best chance in defeating Yucca Mountain is in the federal courts, where impartial judges will hear the factual and scientific arguments as to why Yucca Mountain is not a safe place to store this nation's high-level nuclear waste," said Nevada's Republican governor. Bush hopes the move will pave the way for more nuclear energy production. Government planners have set a 2010 opening date, but the General Accounting Office has said the target cannot be met.
All in all, I would not rank Nevada very high as a choice for the Free State Project. There are a number of huge problems that would need to be addressed and frankly given the large percent of federal land, the projected population increases, the unemployment rate, and the nuclear waste project, not to mention the lack of water, poor soil, and extreme heat I do not believe we should waste our time with further consideration of this state.
July 28, 2002
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the Free State Project, its Officers, or Directors.