CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today that a recent deal announced with Amazon.com to collect sales taxes from on-line purchases in Nevada beginning in January 2014 is only the tip of the iceberg.
Tax revenues to Nevada could total $200 million a year if all on-line purchases were assessed the state sales tax, he said. Nevada’s sales tax rate varies by county but is between 6.85 and 8.1 percent.
Interviewed on Jon Ralston’s Face to Face television program, Sandoval said the voluntary agreement reached with Amazon could be the first step in an effort to collect the state sales tax from all on-line purchases. He also defended the move as not being a new tax for Nevada residents, but one they are supposed to pay anyway.
Sandoval said the agreement with Amazon, which could begin sooner if Congress acts to allow states to collect the tax from on-line retailers, is worth an estimated $16 million to $20 million a year.
“The universe could be up to $200 million in uncollected sales tax,” he said.
Sandoval said he pursued the agreement to help small businesses in Nevada, many of which are at a competitive disadvantage to on-line retailers. Sandoval said he has visited more than 150 businesses in Nevada and the advantage held by internet retailers is an issue that comes up frequently.
“You can drive down almost any street in the state of Nevada and see businesses that have closed,” he said.
Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent as of March.
The issue was brought to Sandoval by the Retail Association of Nevada, which praised the deal announced earlier this week. The same deal has been established by governors in other states, including Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina.
In the wide-ranging interview, Sandoval also defended his conservative fiscal credentials after announcing the extension of a set of taxes set to sunset on June 30, 2013, the Amazon deal that will increase costs to Nevada consumers and an economic plan that will dole out state funds for business expansion.
Sandoval said he decided to continue the sunsetting taxes to deal with an expanding Medicaid population and to avoid further cuts to education.
“I think it is important that we don’t start pitting senior citizens against kindergarteners,” he said. “I’m still a fiscal conservative and Nevadans are not going to be paying one cent more in taxes than the day I took office.”
As to his economic plan and the use of a $10 million catalyst fund to encourage business relocation and expansion, he said: “What we are doing is no different than the most conservative governors in the United States of America.”
Sandoval also said he has received many phone calls from conservatives who are supportive of his decisions, but that not everyone will support all of his decisions as governor.
Sandoval also said he would “respectfully” decline any invitation from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to be his running mate. Sandoval said he intends to finish his term and run again for governor in 2014.
Gov. Brian Sandoval says he reached a deal with Amazon to help Nevada small business:
Sandoval says he started with Amazon but the state can now move on to other on-line retailers: