Assembly committee puts out tax plan worth $857.7 million

The Assembly Taxation Committee voted out a tax package totaling $857.7 million over the coming biennium -- nearly $300 million more than the $558.7 million tax package approved Tuesday by its Senate counterpart.

The proposals hit several of the same areas, including liquor and cigarette taxes, real estate transfers, gaming and entertainment taxes. But the amounts are significantly different.

The Assembly plan also includes levies aimed specifically at businesses -- a unified business tax modeled on Gov. Kenny Guinn's gross-receipts tax, a banking franchise tax and a commercial lease tax.

The biggest revenue generator on the Assembly list is the unified business tax. That would levy the same quarter-percent gross-receipts tax as proposed by Guinn, but limit it to 1 percent of gross profit. That is designed to prevent the tax from unfairly impacting high-volume, low-margin businesses like grocery stores. It would generate an estimated $179 million over the next two years.

A banking franchise tax on the Assembly plan would bring in another $45.6 million, and the commercial lease tax of 2 percent on the first $1,000 of monthly rent, $22.4 million.

While the Senate voted to create a new top tier of the biggest resorts paying an extra half percent gross-revenue tax -- $74.9 million -- the Assembly voted to increase each tier by a quarter percent, raising $48.1 million.

The Senate's 8 percent entertainment tax on live events would only bring in $41.2 million. The Assembly 10 percent tax on entertainment would raise $130.9 million over two years.

The Assembly also boosted the Senate's proposed 35-cent per pack increase in cigarette taxes to 50 cents, raising $151.7 million over the biennium, instead of $110.3 million.

Finally, the Assembly proposed a graduated real estate transfer tax beginning at a half percent for small properties and rising to 1.5 percent for properties worth more than $10 million. It would bring in $157.5 million in the next two years.

That is significantly more than the Senate version, which would exempt the first $200,000 of all sales and generate $71.7 million.

Neither plan has been presented to the full Senate or Assembly.

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