Amodei-Care introduce tax package

Sens. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, and Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, introduced a comprehensive tax plan Monday they say is designed to expand the options beyond those in Gov. Guinn's proposal.

But gaming representatives say the proposal includes a number of tax increases that would hit them, without bringing all Nevada businesses to the table.

Amodei said they deliberately left out the gross-receipts tax on all businesses, to which businesspeople throughout the state have objected.

He said the plan is designed to let lawmakers "plug in or take out" different pieces, but that, if it was approved as written, it would generate as much as $700 million a year in revenue.

The bill also includes a ban on further increases in most of the proposed taxes for at least 10 years.

"There are many ways, potentially, to raise a significant amount of money," said Amodei. "We wanted to put some of them on the table for discussion."

But Greg Ferraro, representing the Nevada Resort Association, said the problem with the plan is that it concentrates too much on the same industries now providing the bulk of Nevada's tax revenue -- those dependent upon tourism.

In addition to the gaming tax hike, he pointed to the increased room tax.

"They're not doing anything to broaden the base," he said. "They're putting a new tax on one of our most volatile taxes."

But he said the bill does bring several other ideas forward for discussion, for which he commends Care and Amodei.

"We're all in this together, and we can work for a common solution, but that has to include new payers," he said.

In introducing the bill, Care and Amodei asked other members of the Senate to join in co-sponsoring the legislation -- not as an indication they totally support the legislation but, as Amodei put it, "as a reaffirmation of the process where all ideas are sought."

"This is a reflection of exactly what the Legislature is supposed to do," said Care.

They won some surprising support from longtime Republican anti-tax advocates Ann O'Connell, Sandra Tiffany, Dennis Nolan, Ray Shafer and Barbara Cegavske, all of Southern Nevada; and Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora.

Democrat Joe Neal of North Las Vegas said he supports many of the ideas, at least for discussion, but couldn't sign on the bill because it disagrees with his own legislation that would impose a 4 percent increase in the gaming tax.

Among the increases proposed in SB382:

-- Creation of a new, fourth tier to tax the state's largest resorts. While the current top tax for casinos is 6.25 percent for those winning more than $134,000 a month gross, the Amodei-Care plan would tax those winning $250,000 gross each month 6.75 percent -- a half-percent increase.

-- Impose a 3 percent tax on amusements, admissions and entertainment. Care said golf memberships and ski season passes and the like would be taxed; purchases or rentals less than $10 such as video rentals would not.

-- Impose a 3 percent tax on services. Health and child care would be among the exemptions, but not legal services.

-- Several options for increasing cigarette and other tobacco taxes, similar to what Guinn has proposed.

-- Doubling the liquor tax -- slightly more than what Guinn proposed.

-- Doubling the per-employee Business Activity Tax, instead of tripling it as proposed by Guinn.

-- Increasing slot-license fees, much like what the governor proposed.

-- Increasing a laundry list of fees charged corporations by the Secretary of State's Office.

-- Increasing the state's share of the room tax from 1 percent to 3 percent and then, in 2005, to 4 percent.

-- A surcharge for companies with more than 300 employees.


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