With 13 days remaining in the Legislature, Assembly leaders Thursday rolled out their version of a tax plan.
"It's fair, equitable and raises the new revenue we need from businesses that are not paying their fair share," said Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson.
The plan presented to the Assembly Taxation Committee would raise an estimated $447 million in fiscal 2004 and $525.4 million in fiscal 2005 -- a total of $972.4 million. That is $242.1 million more than the $730.3 million tentatively approved by the Senate Taxation Committee.
Assembly Taxation Chairman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said the plan includes a gaming tax increase, entertainment tax and a version of the Unified Business Tax proposal which has been circulating for the past week.
The business tax would generate an estimated $47 million from businesses next year. along with $30 million from a 7 percent franchise fee on banking.
A 10 percent live entertainment tax would generate more than $80 million a year. It would increase the gross-revenue tax on gaming resorts by a quarter percent for each of the three sizes of casinos, generating more than $22 million each year.
"What it does not have is a sales tax on services we use every day and it does not have an increase in the property tax," said Parks.
He and Perkins said the plan targets big business and gaming rather than small business and the average Nevadan.
The list of proposed increases would total more than $1 billion, except that the plan includes a 25 percent decrease in the governmental services tax people pay to register their car every year.
That revenue, however, doesn't go into the state general fund. It goes to local governments and the state's school districts.
Assemblyman David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, said the plan will let local governments and schools make up the estimated $80.4 million loss over the next two years by imposing a 1.5 percent real-estate transfer tax.
But since their plan already includes a real estate transfer tax of up to 1.5 percent for large dollar sales, that would raise the total real-estate transfer tax imposed by the Assembly plan to 3 percent.
The unified business tax proposal would impose an annual quarter-percent business tax on all businesses that make more than $450,000 -- much like the governor's gross-receipts tax. But it would cap that tax at no more than 1 percent of the business's gross profit. That, analysts say, would help out high-volume, low-profit margin businesses like grocery stores which would have been hardest hit by the gross-receipts tax.
The committee took no vote on the proposal. Parks said the committee may meet Saturday to consider it.
Bill Bible of the Nevada Resort Association said he wants to examine the plan before taking a stand on it. He said it does hit the gaming industry.
"But I've said before, gaming participates in about 90 percent of the taxes in Nevada anyway, so any tax plan is going to tax us," he said.
Larry Osborne of the Carson Chamber of Commerce said he doubts the plan will go very far.
"This ain't gonna fly," he said.
Ron Knecht, R-Carson City, said the tax increase as proposed would affect everyone in the state.
"This proposal is terribly unfair and destructive, and it shows they don't care one bit about average folks or about our state," he said of the Democratic plan.