LAS VEGAS — Gov. Brian Sandoval today told conservative business group Keystone Corporation that his decision to support a two-year extension of taxes that were scheduled to expire eliminates the need for any new taxes to balance the state budget.
The governor received a standing ovation from the large gathering of business and political leaders at the Silverton in Las Vegas when he said he will block any new business taxes.
Sandoval initially opposed extending a $620 million sunsetted tax package during last year’s legislative session, but an unexpected decision by the Nevada Supreme Court caused him to change his position.
Not all Republican legislators were happy with that change, but a majority of lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Legislature agreed and passed a $6.2 billion general fund budget plan that still reduced state government spending.
Sandoval said the state’s finances are in the best shape they’ve been in five years. He cited 10,000 new jobs, rising sales tax collections over the past two years and increased gaming revenues as examples.
Nevada lost 170,000 jobs in four years and unemployment rose from 4.2 percent to 14 percent during the economic downturn.
The governor also said that Nevada still has the friendliest low-tax business climate in the country.
Sandoval hopes to create 50,000 new jobs by the end of 2014 under an economic development plan that creates regional development authorities and focuses on pursuing new business sectors.
The governor called his plan “prudent” and defended proposed tax abatements and other government-driven initiatives that conservative think tank Nevada Policy Research Institute has called “picking winners and losers.”