Nevada Senate Committee Votes 4 to 3 to Send BLF Proposal to Floor

March 31, 2015

Nevada's Senate Revenue & Economic Development Committee voted 4-3 this afternoon to approve S.B. 252, the Governor's proposed BLF gross receipts tax. The tax would impose a sliding tax scale of 67 revenue ranges for each of 27 industry categories, a complex tax structure resulting in punitive taxes for some and very high marginal tax rates (up to 13 million percent).

The vote was party-line, with all committee Republicans in favor and all committee Democrats opposed. The vote in the full Senate will require a two-thirds vote to pass.

Voting Yes:

Senator Michael Roberson (R), the Chairman of the committee, stated before the vote that it was time for senators to put aside partisanship and fear and instead lead and act.

Senator Joe Hardy (R) said the state has an obligation to fund education, and that S.B. 252 is the best plan we have in this house at this time. Hardy also noted that he voted for a tax increase in 2003 and was elected. He analogized the BLF proposal to a tree, and said he wants to say he voted for something that will grow.

Senator Greg Brower (R) said it was time for the legislature to lead, and that it shouldn't do so by survey, poll, or e-mail counts. Brower said no member had any excuse for not knowing what's in the bill, that there is no reason not to support this bill, and said he expected those voting no to get there.

Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R) voted yes but did not speak on the bill.

Voting No:

Senator Aaron Ford (D), the Democratic Minority Leader and Ranking Member of the committee, said he is still hearing from business owners and said members of his caucus still have questions and he can't make a recommendation to his colleagues yet.

Senator Ruben Kihuen (D) said the decision to send the bill to the floor was premature, and that Nevada needs to take the time to talk to business owners and other Nevadans.

Senator Pat Spearman (D) said she can't be accused of timidity (Spearman has proposed an alternative gross receipts tax, with a single rate instead of the BLF's convoluted structure). She also said she could not vote for a plan that continues the MBT payroll tax.

Our report analyzing the significant structural problems with the BLF proposal is here. I also spoke with Nevada Public Radio on the topic, and you can listen to that interview here.

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