Chairman bars Internet broadcast of tax study meeting |

Chairman bars Internet broadcast of tax study meeting

The group studying how to fix Nevada’s revenue system held its first meeting Friday, but the audience was limited to those who could attend in Las Vegas or Carson City. The chairman refused to allow the Legislative Counsel Bureau to put the video on the Internet.

Nearly all meetings held in the Legislature building are broadcast on the Internet. But LCB Director Lorne Malkiewich said he was specifically told not to put up the video by Vision Stakeholder Group Chairman Robert Lang.

Lang, who attended in Las Vegas, could not be reached to explain that decision, which drew criticism from a number of those who did attend.

But Malkiewich said late in the day that Lang and others on the panel believed there would be a significant cost to streaming video on the legislative Web site.

“It won’t happen again,” he said. “All future meetings will be on the Internet.”

Barry Smith, executive director of the Nevada Press Association, said there is simply no good reason not to put the meeting on the Internet.

“If you want people to trust the process, open it up as much as possible,” he said.

Jan Gilbert of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada pointed out that residents in Reno and rural areas such as Elko were effectively barred from participating.

Paul Enos of the Nevada Motor Transport Association questioned the decision, pointing out that an unelected chairman who is not accountable to the voters was denying the public full access to a study committee that is “building a case to raise taxes.”

“It’s such an important issue for the future of this state and not everybody can take several hours of their day and drive to Carson City or the Sawyer Building in Las Vegas,” said Tray Abney of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. “It shouldn’t be any problem to put it on the Internet for everybody to see.”

He was joined by Ray Bacon of the Nevada Manufacturers Association who said not allowing the video transmission was “a really stupid idea.”

The Vision Stakeholder Group’s first meeting was spent discussing what members expect from the consultant, Moody’s Analytics. The purpose of the group is to develop private industry recommendations on how best to fix and stabilize the state’s revenue system, which currently suffers huge swings depending on the economy.