Nevada Legislature: Bill repealing sunsetted tax hikes passes Senate committee
Senate Bill 483, the bill that makes permanent the temporary tax hikes used to balance the current budget passed out of the Revenue and Economic Development Committee Thursday on a party line vote.
Democrats led by Minority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said they needed more information and just weren’t quite ready to vote for the measure needed to balance Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed General Fund budget.
Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, questioned that request for more information pointing out the measure contains the exact same taxes at the same rates as lawmakers approved two years ago — except for the increased cigarette taxes.
“If you want to fund this budget we have to pass this bill,” he said. “I guess I’m just a little frustrated.”
The bill extends increases to the local school support tax, governmental services tax transfer to the General Fund, the increased business license fee and increased Modified Business Tax among others.
The only increase in the package is the $1 per pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax that generates $111 million over the biennium over and above the $81 million the governor’s proposed 40-cent cigarette tax hike from the current 80-cents per pack.
That $111 million would reduce the hole in the budget created by the tax credits issued to companies like Tesla from $144 million to about $33 million.
Fiscal staff said the total revenue contained in SB483 is about $897 million over the biennium.
The committee can approve the bill on a simple majority vote. But to win approval from the Senate as a whole, Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, must get at least two-thirds of senators — 14 of 21 — to support the bill.
Roberson said he was confident by the time of the final vote, that Ford and the other Democrats would be satisfied and support the measure.