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State’s business portal moves forward

Creating the Nevada Business Portal could “put us light years ahead of any other state in the country,” according to Secretary of State Ross Miller.

The legislation, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, and backed by Miller, creates an web-based system to help businesses do everything necessary to register, license and begin doing business in Nevada.

“Right now, you run to 17 different agencies filling out the same form,” said Miller. “There’s a lot of confusion.”

He said unifying the process would greatly help businesses at the same time it would begin to capture millions in revenue.

According to Miller, no other state is doing what Nevada is planning.

“We’ll be the first state to have a business portal,” he said.

“Making government work more efficiently must be a continuing priority, and the portal will streamline the business licensing process,” said Oceguera.

The first step occurred last October when responsibility for licensing businesses was transferred from the Department of Taxation to the Secretary of State’s Office. The second step occurred this week when the Board of Examiners approved a

$4.5 million contract with Capgemini Government Solutions to install the hardware and software to create the portal.

Initially, that will tie the secretary’s corporate filings division and taxation together to begin creating a “one stop shop” for business people.

But Chief Deputy Secretary of State Nicole Lamboley said that’s just the beginning. Eventually, she said, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, licensing boards and commissions as well as local governments will be invited to join the system.

Lamboley compared it to the Amazon.com business model, saying just as customers there can buy almost anything and pay for it in one place, businessmen and women will be able to do all their business with the state and, eventually, local governments, in one place.

Miller said since taking over the licensing Oct. 1, his office is seeing “all kinds of instances where a business is in good standing with our office but not taxation.” The portal, he said, will help catch those instances and bill businesses for what they actually owe state and local governments.

“As soon as we cope with record budget shortfalls, this new process is helping us track businesses that are avoiding paying the taxes they owe – a fairness issue as well as a revenue issue,” said Oceguera.

Scott Anderson, head of corporate filings for Miller, said projections are the portal will generate about $14 million a year in revenue the state hasn’t been getting. Officials say because the licensing and permitting process is spread among different agencies, a company registered with one may not be registered with others and, so, not paying all the fees, taxes and licenses it should pay the state each year.

Taxation Director Dino DiCianno said the portal will cure that because a business that hasn’t paid everything it should and completed all the legal steps to do business in Nevada not only won’t get its license but will be identified to state officials.

Carole Vilardo, director of the Nevada Taxpayers Association, said that group strongly supports the plan.

“It’s a great idea if it does what the business community is looking for,” she said. “That is something that simplifies the reports that have to be filed and the payment of taxes.

“I’d like to think in five years, it will really constitute one stop shopping.”

Lamboley said she and Miller’s staff have already met with a number of local officials including Carson City to discuss bringing them into the project.