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Gov. Sandoval questions if legislature can hold meaningful tax policy debate in time left in session


By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Gov. Brian Sandoval is questioning whether the Nevada Legislature can have an in-depth debate about the state’s tax structure with less than four weeks left in the session, but he is about to find out.

In comments made Tuesday, Sandoval said he asked Democrats in January to present any proposals they wanted to be considered to raise revenue. Fourteen weeks later there is still no bill, he said.

“I’ve been asking for whatever that plan was since the night I did the state-of-the-state,” he said. “And now we haven’t had a discussion, we haven’t even had the introduction of a bill that I am aware of.”

The lack of a tax bill was remedied today with measures put forward by legislative Democrats for hearings. Part of the revenue plan, a margin tax on businesses, will be amended into an existing measure, Senate Bill 491.The amendment will be heard Thursday by the Senate Revenue Committee.

The other piece is contained in Assembly Bill 569 outlining a tax on some services. It will be heard in the Ways and Means Committee. A hearing date has not yet been set.

“I’m always willing to have a meaningful discussion with regard to tax policy, but I just don’t know if a thorough one can be had in 14 days or however many days are left,” Sandoval said.

The Legislature must adjourn in 120 days, which is June 6.

Sandoval made his remarks as Democrats in the Legislature were passing their version of a public education budget, which adds about $700 million more in revenue than Sandoval has proposed. The bill generated intense debate in the Senate, but was approved on a party-line vote and is now headed to Sandoval for an anticipated veto.

Legislative Democrats presented a conceptual plan last week to extend expiring taxes, impose a tax on some services and create a new business tax to raise $1.2 billion for the two-year budget that begins July 1.

Sandoval said he has submitted a balanced budget and fully expects the Legislature to complete its work by that deadline.

“I’m hopeful the Legislature will adopt that budget,” he said.

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he has been waiting for a tax proposal from Democrats since January:

051111Sandoval1 :10 I’m aware of.”

Sandoval says he doesn’t know if a review of Nevada’s tax structure can be accomplished in the time remaining in the Legislature:

051111Sandoval2 :10 days are left.”

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