Nevada's Senate Finance Committee voted Monday to recognize the workload now imposed on members of the Tax Commission by paying them a salary for the first time.
Like members of most Nevada boards and commissions, tax commissioners get only $80 per diem for each day that they meet.
An interim study committee suggested those commissioners be paid the same as members of the Nevada Gaming Commission - $40,000 for members and $55,000 for the chairman.
Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, a member of that interim committee, said a review of the records showed their workload was very comparable to that of the gaming commission with more than a dozen meetings during each of the past three years.
Coffin, Finance Chairman Bill Raggio, R-Reno, and Budget Director Perry Comeaux - the former head of Taxation - all agreed it takes numerous hours of study to prepare for each of those meetings.
Coffin also pointed out that none of the members of the Tax Commission requested they receive salaries.
He said the suggestion came from lawmakers on the interim study panel.
Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, said much of that workload was created by the tax increases and changes ordered by the 2003 Legislature.
"That glut in work should be a one-time event," he said.
"I don't think it's going to be a one-time blip in workload," he said.
He said one result of the debate over tax regulations spawned by the 2003 tax package is that "the general public has discovered the tax commission."
A majority of the Finance Committee agreed some level of salary was justified, but balked at the size of the proposed salaries.
Raggio suggested they approve smaller salaries.
"Then if the workload does continue, that can be adjusted in the future," he said.
The committee agreed to provide tax commissioners with the chairman $27,500 a year and members $20,000.