State approves $16 million for new tax system |

State approves $16 million for new tax system

Nevada officials on Monday voted to release $16.3 million for the Department of Taxation to fund a new Unified Tax System vendor contract and implement new taxes approved by the 2003 Legislature.

Taxation Director Chuck Chinnock told the Board of Examiners, which consists of Gov. Kenny Guinn, Secretary of State Dean Heller and Attorney General Brian Sandoval, most of the money, $11 million, will go to the vendor implementing the new tax computer system.

But Chinnock said more than $2.6 million will pay for 46 additional positions in his department needed to handle the workload in tracking down and registering businesses in the state so that they pay the new business tax. They are in addition to 55 new positions approved by the Legislature.

He said his staff and the Legislature anticipated up to 150,000 businesses but now believe the total number they must contact to see whether they should pay the tax will eventually reach 300,000.

The board also approved a lease with Clark County Aviation that will provide 51 acres near McCarran International Airport for a new Armory complex. Miles Celio of the Military Department and State Lands Administrator Pam Wilcox told the board this is the first step in purchasing the land rather than leasing it.

Celio said the federal government wants to see the land agreement completed before releasing $13 million toward the $23 million project.

Guinn pointed out the remaining $10 million will have to come out of an extremely tight Capital Improvement Projects budget this coming biennium.

The board voted to raise the cap on the legal contract between the state and the Washington, D.C., law firm Egan & Associates from $4 million to a maximum of $10 million. Egan & Associates represents the state in its protest against the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project. The board also extended the contract through the end of September 2005.

Sandoval told fellow board members any actual expenditures in the legal battle over the dump will be brought back to the board but that the limit must be increased now to allow lawyers to proceed with preparations for upcoming legal appeals. He said the Department of Energy is going to submit its application for a license to operate the dump before the end of this year.

Finally, the board was advised the Department of Corrections has approved a contract to permanently close and demolish Unit 3 at Warm Springs Correctional Center. The prison structure is a modular building more than 25 years old and has become uninhabitable, officials said. Prison crews will take down the building. A vendor will do the rest in return for salvage rights to its steel.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.