Much of the discussion at the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Installation Dinner swirled around this year's Legislative session and the major bone of contention for this chamber, the gross-receipts tax.
"Volunteers and members make this chamber what it is," said Larry Osborne, chief executive officer. "We have between 900 and 1,000 members, and consensus is rare, but 94 percent of us disapproved of the gross-receipts tax; 86 percent supported alcohol and tobacco taxes."
On the second day of a special session, the Senate rejected further consideration of any form of gross-receipts tax or unified business tax. Osborne said efforts by Carson's chamber and others around the state were important in the defeating the proposal.
Outgoing Chairman Steve Reynolds echoed those sentiments.
"Gross receipts is not a good thing for prosperity," he said. "It's a bad thing for the state, and we don't feel it's a fair approach."
The chamber works with city agencies to revise the sign ordinance and support the interests of the school district, Reynolds said.
Following the installation of officers and board members for 2003-2004 and awards presentation, the audience of about 150 was entertained by comedian Will Durst's jokes about Iraq, Democrats, Republicans and more.
Four businesses received "Contribution to Commerce" Awards.
-- Owned and operated by Mario and Gail Montes, U.S. Restaurant opened in a facility that had been vacant for over two years.
-- Mike and Linda Marantette, owners of Q's Steaks, Bar-B-Que & Salads, cleaned and renovated an existing building scheduled for demolition. The business now employs 30 people.
-- The Jack C. Davis Observatory at Western Nevada Community College is a $1.3 million investment constructed primarily by members of the Builders Association of Western Nevada. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to improve educational opportunities, increase tourism, attract research opportunities, and add to the area's overall quality of life.
-- A special award went to Harley-Davidson Financial Services. The business alerted the chamber a legislative bill that would have prevented Harley-Davidson from operating in Nevada. One of the Carson City's largest employers since 1992, the company contributes time and money to nonprofit groups and charitable organizations.