▶ Watch Video: Trump says he’ll eliminate taxes on tips if reelected during Las Vegas rally

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed to end taxation on tips for service workers at a rally off of the Las Vegas strip in Nevada in a pitch to win over voters in the battleground state that is largely dependent on the hospitality industry.

“When I get to office, we are going to not charge taxes on tips,” Trump said. “We’re not going to do it, and we’re going to do that right away, first thing in office, because it’s been a point of contention for years and years and years.”

It’s the first time Trump has made this pitch. Tips are crucial for Americans who work in the service industry, many of whom are paid below minimum wage and rely on tips to earn a living.

The Internal Revenue Service legally requires workers who earn wages based on tips to report their earnings on their taxes, which is then taxed at the same rate as regular income.

Changing the law would require approval from Congress, which has not acted on it before. But in 2025, lawmakers will have an opportunity to rewrite the country’s tax laws when Trump’s 2017 tax laws are set to expire. Tips weren’t included in the original legislation.

Trump’s calculated pitch was aimed directly at the thousands of service workers in Nevada, who his campaign believes can be convinced to back him because many hospitality workers have struggled economically since the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the tourism industry.

However, the Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union chapter, one of the driving political forces in Nevada politics, was not swayed by Trump’s pitch.

“Relief is definitely needed for tip earners, but Nevada workers are smart enough to know the difference between real solutions and wild campaign promises from a convicted felon,” Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge wrote in a statement.

The powerful Culinary Workers Union represents over 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, and has already backed President Biden in 2020. The group pledged last month to work to reelect Mr. Biden in November, although there have been signs of splits with local Democrats in recent months. The union in May un-endorsed every sitting legislator who voted in favor of a 2023 resort-backed bill that included ending the requirement to clean hotel rooms daily, and the union said it was reevaluating all its endorsements ahead of the November election, according to the Nevada Independent.

This was Trump’s third event in Las Vegas this year as he seeks to win Nevada, a critical battleground state, in November. No Republican presidential candidate has won Nevada since 2004.

At the rally, Trump avoided discussing his recent conviction in the Manhattan criminal trial. This was his first official campaign event since the former president was found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Aaron Navarro contributed to this reporting.

More about: