Regulations to implement Nevada's new business, banking and live entertainment taxes were approved by the Legislative Commission on Wednesday.
Some questions were raised about the live entertainment tax - an expanded version of the old casino entertainment tax designed to capture non-casino concerts, shows and other entertainment events. Senate Minority leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, pointed out she wanted the tax to hit those "so-called gentlemen's clubs which have been springing up all over" - the new, large strip clubs. Titus said those clubs currently pay almost no taxes in Nevada.
But she said she was pleased the regulations specifically exempt small night clubs with fewer than 300 seats, wandering minstrel musicians in restaurants and birthday clowns.
Tax commissioners presented the proposed regulations to lawmakers, who have final power of approval over such administrative rules. Commission Chairwoman Barbara Smith Campbell said they were produced through a series of 14 public meetings which invited comments from anyone who will be paying the different levies.
Asked whether the average businessman would be able to understand the new rules, she said she believed they would.
"We were trying to make it as simple as possible," she said.
Legislative Commission Chairman Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, praised both the tax commission and the Department of Taxation for their work to develop the rules. He said after the regulations were approved by the tax commission last week that "these guys did their job better that we did ours" - a reference to the numerous technical problems and lack of clarity in Senate Bill 8 - the bill which created the new taxes.
The live entertainment tax will generate an estimated $116.9 million over the coming two years from a 10 percent tax on admission to events with more than 300 seats.
The rules also set up how the modified business tax on all Nevada businesses will be applied. It imposes a tax of .7 percent on the gross wages paid by businesses but repeals the existing business activity tax. It would add an estimated $176.8 million in new money over the next two years.
Along with that is the modified business tax on financial institutions at a rate of 2 percent of gross wages which would generate about $36.9 million in new money for the state treasury.