Technical panel certifies estimates for "minor" state revenue sources | NevadaAppeal.com

Technical panel certifies estimates for "minor" state revenue sources

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

The technical advisers to the Nevada Economic Forum certified estimates Wednesday of how much money a long list of “minor” revenue sources will generate for the state over the next two years.

Included in the list are all the state’s general fund revenue sources except the so-called “big six” — the gaming, sales, casino entertainment, insurance premium, cigarette and business license taxes.

The Economic Forum will meet next week to adopt revenue estimates for both major and minor revenue sources, which must be used to build the state budget for the coming two years.

Some of those on the list are far from minor in most people’s eyes, such as the more than $50 million generated last year by the Secretary of State’s Office and the $19.6 million produced by the short-term car lease fee.

Both of those levies were sharply increased by the 2001 Legislature to balance the budget.

The secretary of state’s fees are projected to produce nearly $56 million in 2004 and $57.8 million in 2005.

The levy on rental car charges is projected to raise $23.7 million in 2004 and $24.5 million in 2005.

Some of the taxes, fees and other levies on the list are considered prime targets for increases by the 2003 Legislature as it attempts to balance the budget.

The net proceeds of mines tax and other levies on that industry are projected to raise $10.3 million in 2004 and $9.8 million in 2005. Assembly fiscal analyst Mark Stevens said that projection may be revised upward later if the rising price of gold sparks new activity in Nevada’s mines. But both those estimates are below the $10.7 million mining is expected to generate this year.

Another significant revenue source most years has been the interest income generated by state bank accounts and investments. But Treasurer Brian Krolicki has told the governor and lawmakers that source collapsed this year because of the slumping economy and reduced interest rates ordered by the Federal Reserve.

What was worth more than $12 million to the treasury last year is only expected to generate $5.3 million this year and $7.6 million in 2004. But as the economy recovers, interest income should climb above $10.5 million again in 2005, according to the projections approved Wednesday.

Russell Guindon of the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s fiscal analysis division told the five-member technical panel most of the forecasts rely on estimates by the agencies that collect the revenues. Altogether, the list includes more than 100 so-called “minor” sources of revenue including everything from loan repayments by local governments to professional licenses, liquor taxes and athletic commission fees.

Together, they are expected to generate just over 10 percent of the general fund — an estimated $201 million in 2004 and $213.5 million in 2005.

The recommendations usually are accepted by the Economic Forum, which spends most of its time on the six major revenue sources, which account for nearly 90 percent of the general fund.

Gaming and sales taxes generate about 80 percent of general fund revenues — $590 million and $655 million respectively in 2002. The next-largest revenue producer on the list is the insurance premium tax — worth more than $156.5 million in 2002 — followed by the business license tax at $78.4 million.

The cigarette tax brought in $41.8 million for the state and the casino entertainment tax $64.8 million in 2002.