Democrats are putting the final touches on their plan to tweak Nevada’s tax structure to bring in more money for education and other services, Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis said Monday.
Denis, D-Las Vegas, said they will await final revenues projections this week from the Economic Forum before introducing the plan in bill form.
The Economic Forum is an independent panel charged with forecasting Nevada revenues. It meets Wednesday to forecast how much Nevada will take in over the next two years from its major tax sources. Forum projections must be used by lawmakers and the governor to build a budget.
In November, the forum predicted Nevada would receive $5.8 billion for the biennium beginning July 1. Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $6.5 billion spending plan includes extending about $620 million in taxes that would otherwise expire June 30.
Denis said Democrats haven’t yet closed in on how much additional revenue they want to generate, though the Democrats’ education agenda calling for full-day kindergarten statewide, smaller class sizes and expanding English language learner programs carries an estimated price tag in excess of $300 million.
Among the tax options being considered are revamping the state’s live entertainment tax to close loopholes that allows some big events, such as Burning Man, the Electric Daisy Carnival, outdoor concerts and NASCAR races to escape paying the tax.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, said a proposal by a group of Senate Republicans to seek voter approval to raise taxes on Nevada’s gold and silver mines is also expected to be out this week. The measure is listed as a bill draft request but was not yet available on the Legislature’s website.
That measure is being pitched as an alternative to a business margins tax that will appear on the November 2014 ballot.
The Senate Republican plan intends to increases the net proceeds on minerals paid by gold and silver mines to 10 percent. But it’s contingent upon the Legislature and voters approving SJR15, which would take mining industry tax protections out the state constitution.
Democrats argue that the Senate GOP plan doesn’t help finance the state’s many needs now, while Assembly Republicans and the governor are against targeting mining for higher taxes.