Mining, admissions tax plans due in Legislature

A Republican contingency plan to raise taxes on Nevada’s gold and silver mine operators and a Democratic proposal to tax admissions to entertainment events are expected to be introduced soon in the Legislature, signaling the beginning of the end game as lawmakers troll for dollars with less than a month to go in the 2013 legislative session.

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, said her measure revamping Nevada’s live entertainment tax could be introduced Wednesday. Though details are still cloaked, the idea is to close loopholes in the existing law and apply an 8 percent admissions tax on large events.

When asked what venues it would cover, Kirkpatrick said “everybody.”

Lawmakers were briefed in February on just how convoluted Nevada’s live entertainment tax is with its myriad exemptions, prompting Kirkpatrick at the time to retort, “How hard is it just to get rid of all of them and start over?”

Under existing law outdoor concerts are exempt, unless they are held on casino properties. Then the tax is calculated on attendance — and sometimes food, beverage and merchandise sales.

But no tax was collected on the Electric Daisy Carnival that drew more than 100,000 people last year for three nights running at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was exempt. So is Burning Man, the annual counter-culture, free expression festival held on the Black Rock Desert that draws more than 50,000.

Ditto for NASCAR races and sporting events.

Meanwhile, a measure pushed by Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, seeks to impose a 10 percent tax on mining — double the current constitutional rate. It’s intended to compete on next year’s ballot with a proposed 2 percent business margins tax backed by the state teachers union.

The mining tax alternative backed by Roberson and five other Senate Republicans was released in draft form on Monday and would bring in an estimated $600 million over a two-year budget cycle, according to sponsors. The 75-page bill also includes a 2.5 percent temporary payroll tax on banks to create an “education stabilization fund.”

“I want to provide a long-term funding source for education and I want to give the voters the ability to cut a better deal with mining that we’ve had in Nevada for the last 150 years,” Roberson said Tuesday.

But the mining measure has hurdles. For one thing it’s contingent upon voters next year approving SJR15, a proposed amendment taking the industry’s 5 percent net proceeds tax cap out of the constitution.

Assembly Republicans are also against it, as is Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.


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