Nevada Legislature special session: Sandoval removes tax changes from special session agenda
Under pressure from lawmakers who don’t want to vote for a tax increase less than a month before the election, Gov. Brian Sandoval on Thursday removed those items from the special legislative session agenda.
His original announcement included not only the NFL dome-stadium project but “adjustments” to the lodging tax and the Governmental Services Tax to make up a funding shortfall in the K-12 education budgets.
“After consulting with legislative leadership, I have decided that any potential budget challenges for the next biennium will be addressed during the next regular session,” Sandoval said. “The special session agenda will be focused on the recommendations of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.”
His original announcement said the special session, “offers an opportunity to come together as leaders and ensure stable funding for public education in the next biennium.”
When lawmakers convene Monday morning, they will see just two bills: one implementing the room tax increase needed to bond for the stadium and pay for expansion of the convention center, the other authorizing Clark County to add a tenth of a percent to its sales tax to put more police on the streets.
The room tax bill will implement the tax rather than authorize Clark County to do so. That means it will require a two-thirds vote of each chamber.
In a break from tradition initiated, the Legislature won’t see a funding bill to pay for the special session. That means whatever it costs will have to come out of the Legislative Fund.
The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recommended raising the Clark County room tax to provide $750 million in bonds to build the stadium.
The rest of the funding for the $1.9 billion stadium would come from the Davis family who owns the Raiders ($500 million) and Las Vegas Sands Owner Sheldon Adelson who has pledged $650 million.
Finally, Sandoval didn’t, however, change his decision not to include the school vouchers program in the agenda saying that will require too much time to handle now and should be done during the regular session that begins in February to ensure the “fix” doesn’t run into constitutional challenges as the original version did. The Nevada Supreme Court last week ruled the funding mechanism for that program violated the “Education First” state constitutional amendment because it took money from the K-12 budget.
Lawmakers are expecting to work Monday and the first part of Tuesday before recessing for Yom Kippur, resuming work early Thursday if necessary.