Lawmaker proposes tax changes
(AP) ” Nevada lawmakers debated the need to rein in some of the many tax abatements that companies can now get, and groused Thursday about the state’s lost opportunities to earn revenue in the past.
Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, told a joint Senate-Assembly tax committee that she’ll introduce a bill that would increase accountability measures on redevelopment agencies and companies that get the tax breaks.
The purpose of the bill would be to determine whether companies are providing jobs and training to Nevadans, to more closely track whether the state is getting the appropriate tax revenues, and to ensure that those revenues are redistributed to areas like education and social services.
“We gave a $2 million abatement to a renewable energy company who hired outside Nevada labor,” Kirkpatrick said. “And at the end, the most disheartening thing for the entire state was they sold their power to a higher bidder who’s not in Nevada.”
Kirkpatrick pointed out that other states have stricter oversight of how companies that get abatements spend their money, ensuring that they set aside money for education. Currently, a large amount of tax revenues from Nevada properties located in redevelopment areas goes back to the redevelopment agency rather than the state.
Russell Guindon, a deputy legislative fiscal analyst, said that when property values go up and tax revenue increase, that revenue generally goes back to the redevelopment agency instead of schools and state funded programs.
During the hearing, lawmakers also reviewed a report on tax abatements, exemptions, incentives for economic development and tax increment financing, which included lists of all tax abatements approved by the Legislature. It also included a list of exemptions from the live entertainment tax, such as animal stunts.
Lawmakers also discussed the need to “sunset” tax abatements, to ensure that the state eventually does benefit from funds generated by redevelopment.
“We are very lackadaisical about this,” Kirkpatrick said. “We are behind the times.”
Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, agreed with the need to overhaul redevelopment agencies to ensure that the state benefits financially.
“I want to apologize to the people in my district and to the people of the state of Nevada for supporting this concept in the first place,” Anderson said.