Culinary Union Dismisses Trump Pledge to Not Tax Tips

Law & Politics Crime
Dan Michalski

Updated by Dan Michalski

News Writer

Last Updated 10th Jun 2024, 03:54 PM

Culinary Union Dismisses Trump Pledge to Not Tax Tips

Former President Donald Trump made overtures to casino employees at his rally in Las Vegas on Sunday by promising no more taxes on tips. (Image: John Locher/Associated Press)

Donald Trump told supporters in Las Vegas on Sunday that if he’s elected president, income earned from tips would not be taxed. 

The labor union representing 10s of thousands of tipped workers at casinos in Las Vegas almost immediately dismissed the claim as an empty campaign promise. 

“For decades, the Culinary Union has fought for tipped workers’ rights and against unfair taxation,” Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said in a press statement issued less than two hours after the rally ended. 

“Relief is definitely needed for tip earners," Pappageorge said, "but Nevada workers are smart enough to know the difference between real solutions and wild campaign promises from a convicted felon.”

Trump, of course, recently became the first former president in history to be convicted of a felony, when he was found guilty in New York on 34 counts of filing fraudulent business records in an attempt to conceal an illicit campaign expense. 

Despite the felony conviction – for which he will be sentenced on July 11 – Trump is presumed Republican candidate for the US presidency in 2024. 

trump rally vegas gangster

A Trump supporter at Sunset Park in Las Vegas Sunday. (Image: Dee Cee Carter/Media Punch/Alamy Live News)

Nevada is considered a swing state, and the Culinary Union – which represents bartenders, bellmen, food servers, guest room attendants, valet parkers, and other tipped workers at Las Vegas casinos – is known for wielding significant political influence. 

The local labor union’s leanings have long been Democratic. Last fall, Vice President Kamala Harris met with Culinary Union leaders and members in a show of solidarity as the union was threatening to strike if casinos couldn’t meet demands for new labor contracts. 

Trump was in Las Vegas Sunday as part of a post-conviction tour of the southwest. Over the weekend he also held rallies and fundraisers in Phoenix, Arizona, and Newport Beach, California.

In Las Vegas, an audience of debatable size assembled outside at Sunset Park with temperatures reaching 101 F (38 C).

"For those hotel workers and people that get tips you're going to be very happy,” Trump shouted, “because when I get into office, we are going to not charge taxes on tips, people making tips.” 

The crowd cheered moderately.

Las Vegas metro police reported 6,900 in attendance. The Trump campaign said 20,000. At least one person there estimated the size of the crowd as something closer to 2,000. 

Trump would later send out a post on Truth Social that declared he would make this change to taxes for hospitality and service workers "IMMEDIATELY." 

Legal scholars agree, and even the Trump campaign concedes, that to make such a shift on how the IRS views income from tips would require a change to tax code, which can only be done by an act of Congress. 

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Dan Michalski
Dan Michalski
News Writer News Writer

Dan Michalski is a longtime journalist based in Las Vegas with nearly 20 years as a writer and editor covering poker, casino gaming and sports betting. As founder of Pokerati and an award-winning blogger, podcaster and news reporter, Dan has worked tirelessly to elevate the standards of journalism in gaming media. He also has served as a gaming industry consultant and holds advanced certificates in gaming regulation from UNLV. When not thinking about media and casinos, he can be found on the tennis courts, where he has captained two teams to USTA national championships, and one to second place.

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