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Nevada casinos defend tax payments

Associated Press

Nevada’s casinos will pay another $39.5 million in business taxes per year if the Legislature approves tax proposals sought by a special state task force, an industry leader said this week.

Bill Bible, head of the Nevada Resort Association, commented following claims by some business leaders that casinos would pay only $6 million more per year in business taxes.

“Their argument is not correct,” said Bible, a former state budget director. “We will continue to be the dominant payer to the state general fund.”

Bible said Tuesday the casino industry, including casino-owned hotels, would pay $27.2 million of the projected $221 million in gross receipts taxes in 2004-05 and about $12.3 million of the additional $54 million in business license taxes.

The gambling industry now pays $20.5 million in business license taxes and more than $600 million in gambling taxes per year.

The Governor’s Task Force on Tax Policy proposed in November that the 2003 Legislature levy a 0.25 percent gross receipts tax on all business income over $350,000 a year and increase the casino tax, now 6.25 percent, to 6.5 percent.

Panel members also recommended increasing the business license tax, now $100 per employee per year, to $140.

Since release of the task force report, some business leaders, led by Nevada Manufacturing Association Executive Director Ray Bacon, have contended the gambling industry would escape with little of the proposed tax increases.

Bacon also predicted the Legislature would reject the gross receipts tax, a tax proposed by task force member Mike Sloan, the executive vice president of Mandalay Resort Group.

Sloan and the task force seek implementation of the gross receipts tax as a way to collect taxes from Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Bank of America and other businesses that pay little or no business taxes in Nevada.