Sounding upbeat economic notes, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki talked Wednesday of federal Internet taxation, state legislative matters and Nevada’s rebranding efforts.
Speaking at a breakfast gathering of the Northern Nevada Development Authority in the Carson Nugget, he also dipped into plans for the Silver State’s imminent birthday party to celebrate its sesquicentennial, or 150th year, in 2014. Yet it was his reply to a question on Internet taxation matters in the nation’s capital that grabbed attention.
“I am a little dumbfounded,” he said, quickly explaining reports from Washington, D.C. indicate sales taxes impacting business on the Internet may get traction there.
Krolicki said it might look like an opportunity or a curse or “whatever you want to call it.” But depending on if, when and what version became law, he projected it could mean $200 million in Nevada coffers. He said no one at the Nevada Legislature is talking openly about it, but some see the possibility of a revenue infusion for state programs.
Regarding the legislative session, Krolicki reported with 80 days gone and 40 left that many bills look dead and most of those likely are. But everything remains in the air, he said, because anything can happen.
“The bottom line is, it’s still all on the table,” he said.
Krolicki said, for example, that some Republicans still prefer perhaps $600 million from the mining industry instead of the so-called margins tax plan supported by Democrats.
When the dust clears at session end, he said, as “white smoke” comes out of the legislative building he isn’t sure now if it will or won’t be “a successful conclave.” He indicated that analogy stemmed from a recent event, an obvious reference to the choice of Pope Francis of Argentina to lead Roman Catholics from the Vatican.
The lieutenant governor and Claudia Vecchio, the Sandoval administration’s director of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, both spoke on the state’s rebranding, which keys on the line, “Nevada: A world within. A state apart.”
“Tourism is the lifeblood of Nevada,” said Krolicki, but diversifying the economy means the rebranding needed to encompass that and more. Vecchio spoke straight to her audience of business people by saying there is a tie-in with economic development. She said, for example, it ties in with NNDA’s theme urging firms to “improve the state of your business.”
Krolicki praised NNDA for development efforts and got into upbeat mode as he swung into his remarks about next year’s state sesquicentennial celebration.
“We’re going to have a hoot,” he said of Nevada’s 150th anniversary celebration. He made that comment not long after saying, “Certainly things are getting a lot better than they’ve been.” Later he also said the recession put Nevada in a funk, “but it is getting a whole lot better.”