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Only nine states in the U.S. don't have an income tax, and Nevada is one of them. Compare that to California, where taxes for the highest wage earners clock in at 14.4% — highest in the nation. Nevada’s average combined state and local sales tax rate is 8.23%, slightly lower than the Golden State’s 8.82%.

So if you live in California and made $10 million, you could potentially wind up on the hook to the state for $1.44 million. Or you could bring your action across state lines to the Nevada side and not have to worry about bupkis.

There’s another levy in particular that’s getting under the skin of the Los Angeles County's well-to-do: the so-called “Mansion Tax.” As of 2023, any property sale that exceeds $5 million subjects the seller to a 4% tax; if it surpasses $10 million, the rate jumps to 5.5%. Arguably, paying that tax could discourage selling — though it could just as easily prove the last straw for taxed-to-death Californians.

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Quality of life

The kind of traffic jams that make L.A. driving a round-the-clock test of nerves simply don’t exist in Vegas, even if the summer’s Formula One racing event made a mess of local roads. Wahlberg also talks about Vegas as being a better place to raise his family. Really.

“You have Las Vegas, and people think automatically, 'Oh, the Strip,'” the actor told TODAY.com. “But [in] Nevada, there are wonderful communities. I live in a wonderful community that's really faith-based, great schools. There's much more to Las Vegas than the Strip."

Room to grow a (show) business

If you’re comparing California to Nevada as a business-friendly state, it’s hardly a contest in terms of tax structure, according to the Tax Foundation. It ranks the former as 48th on its 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index, while Nevada comes in seventh.

No wonder there’s the very real potential for Vegas to become a moviemaking hub just 90 minutes by plane from Los Angeles. Last year, Wahlberg appeared before the Nevada state legislature in support of SB 496, the Nevada Film Studio Infrastructure Act. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Birtcher Development and the Howard Hughes Corp. were also lobbying for it.

The bill, which would have granted $190 million in yearly tax credits, never made it to a vote. However, several sources told Variety that "the bill or similar legislation has a much better chance of passing when the next session happens in 2025."

Imagine that, and we’re betting Wahlberg’s peers already are: shoot a blockbuster by day, shoot craps at night and shoot home without the vagaries of bumper-to-bumper traffic and a hefty tax bill in the mailbox.

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About the Author

Lou Carlozo

Lou Carlozo

Freelance writer

Lou Carlozo is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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