Nevada Legislators Look at Burning Man: If It Burns, Tax It!


Burning Man,  the annual experimental temporary city of over 50,000 attendees dedicated to art and community, already kicks over $4 million a year of its ticket price to various local, state, and federal governing authorities in Nevada, where the event is held.

But Nevada politcians gaze on its lucrative splendors and wonder: why can't we get more?

The Las Vegas Sun reports:

Some Democratic legislative leaders are looking at the ticket proceeds and wondering why the state doesn't get a cut.

"It's how many people and they pay how much?" Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said. "I definitely think we ought to look at that."

That's the spirit of government, right there: someone is making money somewhere, and we need to look into how we get some. There should be statues to Rep. Denis in every legislature in the land, speaking that truth so bluntly and strongly.

Denis wants to try to impose the state's standard 5 percent live entertainment tax on the event, though it doesn't really qualify as paid entertainment (for the most part, the attendees are responsible for entertaining themselves) and even though the law as currently written does not apply to outdoor events.

I wrote the first narrative history of Burning Man, This is Burning Man, back in 2004. I wrote about the event's relationship with the government in a Reason cover story in 2000.

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  1. Remember Obama voters (who I suspect make a significant portion of Burning Man attendees), we don’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem: So get in line to pay your fair share.

    1. Denis wants to try to impose the state’s standard 5 percent live entertainment tax on the event

      5%, WTF? These are team blue folks, tax this thing at 500%! They said they want to pay more, let them pay!

  2. Yeah, tax those hippies! Where else are they going to go?

  3. Look, that desert ain’t going to maintain itself! They need a cut so they can provide the basic desert necessities people expect, like dirt and hot air.

    1. They could be endangering some rare desert critter that we haven’t even discovered yet! They need to pay for the research dollars to see if anything is being endangered.

  4. All those morning Yoga classes. You can’t even cross the playa without running into naked hippies in downward-facing dog pose.

  5. Nice little festival you got there, sure would be a shame if something regulatory happened to it. Is that… is that sculpture on fire? Let’s see what the fire marshall has to say about that. What chemicals you using to make that burn? We need to have the EPA do an inspection. I presume you have a prescription card for that weed you’re smoking? That vehicle doesn’t look safe, those wheels seem spaced too far out from wheel well. Everyone out here using sunscreen? OSHA might require fifteen minute breaks for the volunteers. How’s a wheelchair supposed to make it between the stalls here? Looks mighty narrow…

    1. Fuck you. Pay me.

    2. I’ve always wanted to attend this thing. I enjoy camping and people watching and I would like to combine both of those things in EXTREME portions.

      As sad as it is, these people that attend it have likely helped fuel the political environment that would like to see their precious little festival be taxed out of existence, if not, relocated.

      Enjoy the ride through the Taggart Tunnel, bootlickers!

  6. Burning Man exhibition “burns wall street”. Most inciteful comment at exactly 4:25:


    1. Insightful… hmm, I like the first one.

    2. Actually, you know the funny thing is that ‘Burn Wall Street’ had already been done in 2009, when it was called ‘Megatropolis’.

      The 2012 version (Burn Wall Street) was the delayed-Occupy-response when the stoners woke up and suddenly discovered that a financial crisis had happened 3 years earlier.

      It was organized by Occupy types who were too disorganized and lazy to finish it on time so the org took their fireworks and gave them to Osiris ( the group that did the Trojan Horse the year before), fired the staff and brought in a special team to finish it so they could at least burn it by the end of the week.

      In short, Burn Wall Street was lame. Shoddily built, derivative, and no pyro.

  7. Citizen. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which the government cannot take away.

  8. “If It Burns, Tax It!”

    Then half the men at Burning man will be paying taxes on their wieners…

  9. Sounds liek some pretty crazy smack to me dude.


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