Tax breaks are delayed

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Two requests from Lyon and Storey county businesses for tax breaks were delayed until May by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.

A property tax abatement of $206,000 for TRW Vehicle Safety Systems in Storey County was tabled when Storey County officials protested the loss would be too big a hit on the county's strained budget. TRW will meet with county officials before re-applying next month.

An abatement of between $261,000 and $339,000 for Quebecor Printing, located in Fernley, was postponed when company officials failed to appear at last week's commission meeting. According to Commission Executive Director Bob Shriver, requests are not granted if the applicant is not present.

"By their absence I assume they will either meet with Lyon County officials or withdraw their request," Shriver said. "I doubt the board would give an abatement without the support of local entities."

Citing opposition to property tax abatements and a lack of time to properly review the request, Lyon County commissioners voted not to support for Quebecor's request.

The Economic Development Commission is required to notify local governments of property tax abatement requests, but the board is not bound by local decisions.

A Fortune 500 company, Quebecor's expansion would create 75 new jobs at an average wage of $17.17 per hour.

TRW is investing $8.3 million and will hire about 57 employees at an average wage of $27.90 per hour. The company researches new, safer explosive propellants for use in automobile airbags.

The commission looked more favorably upon sales and use tax abatement requests:

- TRW was awarded a two-year sales tax savings of $427,000 and $166,300 in deferred taxes.

- Medallic Art Co. of Dayton, a private minting company that produces some of the nation's most prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, was awarded an annual abatement of $28,000 for a period of two years on a new $615,000 printing press. Though the average wage will be only slightly above the state's average of $14.12 per hour, it will be well above the Lyon County average of $11.86 per hour.

- Located in Douglas County, Darja Laboratories was awarded a $168,000 abatement on new equipment for a 24 employee, $3.4 million expansion of its medical and veterinary supply manufacturing and research facility. An additional tax deferment of $69,000 was also granted. Employees will be paid an average of $22.30 per hour.

Nevada is one of only a few states with a sales and use tax on capital equipment.

"The abatement allows us to level the playing field as we try to compete with other states," Shriver said.

In order to qualify for Nevada's tax abatement programs, a business must meet stringent guidelines. For cities and counties with populations under 50,000, conditions include: Paying 100 per cent of the statewide hourly wage; having 25 full-time employees when opening and, if expanding, new employees must increase by 10 percent.

Sales tax abatement rates are determined on a case-by-case basis and last for a period of up to two years. Personal property tax abatements may not exceed 50 percent and may continue on a sliding scale for up to 10 years.

Sales and use taxes can be deferred interest free for five years. A company must post a security bond in the amount of the deferment, pay 80 per cent of the average state hourly wage and hire 10 new full-time employees.


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