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The Most Anti-Small Biz SoS in Nevada History?

Has there ever been a more anti-small business Secretary of State in Nevada than Ross Miller?

But before we explore that question, first a disclaimer: Miller’s office has been harassing my non-profit organization for the last six months over filing certain reports that we are only required to file with the Internal Revenue Service. So take that for it’s worth.

Now, to the issue at hand.

Nevada leads the nation in unemployment. Why? Because many of the established big businesses with the experience and the wherewithal to create jobs are sitting on their hands thanks to a generally anti-business government environment at the federal, state and local levels.

Obamanomics is killing Wall Street while the Clark County Commission is doing its darnedest to kill successful small businesses like Dotty’s taverns. In between is Secretary Miller, now on a jihad against small, home-based businesses which hope to someday become big, job-creating, revenue-producing businesses.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. But not if Ross Miller has his way.

It’s bad enough that the Nevada Legislature in 2009 attempted to “stimulate” the economy by doubling the tribute/penalty/fee a business must pay to the government for the “privilege” of creating jobs and generating tax revenue. But at least small, home-based businesses – such as the Mary Kay cosmetics saleswomen, part-time photographers, teenagers mowing lawns, handymen, etc. – earning less than $27,000 a year net are exempted.

Now Miller’s going after them, too.

According to a press release issued by his office on August 5, Miller claims that falsely-claimed home-business exemptions “are costing the state tens of millions of dollars in unclaimed revenue.” As such, he announced his office was clamping down on all 60,000 existing mom-and-pop kitchen table home businesses.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

According to Miller’s office, “inordinate” exemption abuse among the 60,000 small businesses that are not paying the $200 license fee/penalty is costing the state “tens” of millions of dollars. Alas, the Boy Who Would Be Governor must be using government-school math.

I mean, even if every one of the small, home-based businesses was fraudulently claiming the exemption, that would mean the state was losing a grand total of $12 million. Twelve million is not “tens of millions,” nor are all 60,000 small, home-based businesses operating fraudulently.

And neither are there tens of millions of dollars worth of fraudulent out-of-state “shell companies” operating as “money launderers, mountebanks and other criminal enterprises.” In other words, the Secretary is abusing the privilege of political hyperbole in making such ridiculous claims.

Nevertheless, effective August 6, Miller is now requiring that all small home-based businesses claiming the license fee exemption to jump through new government mandated and enforced hoops to verify they are what they say they are.

As such, Miller has mailed each of them a letter demanding that they verify their home-based status and income. And those who do not reply “will have their license status revoked.” Not because they’ve necessarily done anything wrong, but because they didn’t reply to a government harassment letter which presumes them guilty until proven innocent.

Even worse, folks attempting to start their own home-based business are no longer allowed to conveniently apply for the government permission slip online. All such business applications now “will require a completed notarized form that provides verifiable information of the home-based business, including the residential address and net earnings.”

Could there possibly be a worse time to harass and crack down on people legitimately reaching for the American dream of self-employment? And isn’t “job creation” supposed to be every politician’s Job #1? So why, then, is the Secretary of State doing everything in his power to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to do just that?

To return to my original question: Do these actions in the midst of the worst recession and highest unemployment in the nation make Ross Miller the most anti-small business Secretary of State in Nevada history? To borrow a phrase from Sarah Palin: You betcha.


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