State Senate GOP Leadership Endorses Drivers’ Licenses For Deferred Action Program

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s state  Senate Republican leadership today expressed support for a state policy that makes thousands of young immigrants living in Nevada eligible for a state-issued driver’s license or ID.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, with the support of Gov. Brian Sandoval, announced this week that its policy would be to honor the employment authorization card granted to successful applicants under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Deferred Action program.

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, said he supports the DMV policy and hopes those eligible will take advantage of this opportunity.

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson.

“These young men and women are living, working and attending school here (Continue reading…)

September Taxable Sales up 4.2 Percent, 27th Consecutive Increase

CARSON CITY – Nevada taxable sales totaled $3.7 billion in September for a 4.2 percent increase over the same month in 2011, the Department of Taxation reported today.

It was the 27th consecutive month of increases in the economic indicator as the state Economic Forum prepares on Friday to establish the general fund revenue estimates for the 2013-15 budget.

Clark County taxable sales were up 4.9 percent, while Washoe County saw a 9.1 percent increase.

Photo by Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

All major categories of taxable sales showed increases in September, with the largest seen in Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers, up 13.3 percent; Building Material and Garden Equipment (Continue reading…)

Reno Selected For IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant

CARSON CITY – The city of Reno has been selected as one of only 100 recipients of IBM’s prestigious Smarter Cities Challenge grant for 2013.

Partners in the project include the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, University of Nevada, Reno, EDAWN, Desert Research Institute and the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization.

“Being chosen as one of IBM’s Smart Cities signals to the rest of the country, and internationally, that Reno is a community ready for knowledge-based economic expansion,” said Heidi Gansert, special assistant to the president for external affairs at UNR.

“The university is pleased to be part of the Smart Cities Team (Continue reading…)

Federal Unemployment Program To Expire In January

CARSON CITY – A federal emergency unemployment benefit program will expire on Jan. 2, cutting off about 25,000 Nevadans from the program, a state agency reported today.

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program will expire unless Congress votes to extend the federal benefits as it has done in the past, said Renee Olson, administrator of the Employment Security Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

As a result, about 25,000 Nevadans currently receiving EUC will be abruptly cut off and each week another 1,000 claimants who are receiving regular unemployment, (which allows for a maximum of 26 weeks), will exhaust their benefits and not (Continue reading…)

Nevadans Will Pay Nearly 5 Percent More If Tax Breaks Expire

CARSON CITY – A Nevada family of four with a median income of $65,212 will see a nearly 5 percent tax hike next year if a collection of tax breaks are not renewed by Congress as it deals with the so-called “fiscal cliff”, according to a new report by the Tax Foundation.

The 4.92 percent tax increase as a percentage of the median income ranks Nevada 29th among the states in the higher rates they would pay, the study determined.

The biggest increase if the Bush-era and President Obama tax cuts disappear in 2013 would be the 6.82 percent rate paid in New Jersey. The lowest would (Continue reading…)

Nevada Budget Likely To See Fewer Impacts From “Fiscal Cliff”

CARSON CITY – The impacts of the so-called “fiscal cliff” on Nevada’s state budget would likely be less significant than for many other states because of our lower dependence on federal spending, according to an analysis by the Pew Center on the States.

The impact on state tax revenues do not apply because Nevada does not have a personal or corporate income tax, according to the report The Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on the States. The report examines the potential effects on each of the states.

Analysis includes Nevada-specific numbers

On the federal spending cut side of the equation, Nevada’s share of federal (Continue reading…)

Nevada’s Public Employee Retirement Plan Saw Improvement In 2012

CARSON CITY – The long-term unfunded liability of Nevada’s public employee retirement plan improved slightly in fiscal year 2012, up to 71 percent fully funded from 70.2 percent in the previous year, a state official said today.

The plan saw the modest improvement even though the return on investment for the fiscal year was only 2.9 percent. The small gain came after a record 21 percent investment gain in 2011.

The 2012 return was still better than the median gain of 1.15 percent for public pension plans in fiscal year 2012 reported earlier this year by Wilshire Associates.

Dana Bilyeu, executive officer of the Public Employees’ Retirement System, said (Continue reading…)

Nevada’s Jobless Rate Drops To 11.5 Percent In October

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate for October dropped to a seasonally adjusted 11.5 percent, down from 11.8 percent in September, the lowest it’s been in three and a half years, a state agency reported today.

The Las Vegas metro area still holds the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 11.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down 0.4 percentage points from September, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

In the Reno-Sparks area the rate fell 0.2 percentage points over the month, to 10.6 percent. Carson City recorded a similar decline, from 10.9 percent to 10.7 percent. Las Vegas and (Continue reading…)

Football Betting Pushes Gaming Revenues Up In September

CARSON CITY – Football fever helped Nevada casinos win $892.7 million from gamblers in September for a modest 3.3 percent increase over September 2011, the state Gaming Control Board reported today.

Clark County reported a 3.7 percent gain, with the Las Vegas Strip posting a slight 1.2 percent increase with $496.8 million in revenues, the monthly report released today shows.

Photo by Mikerussell via Wikimedia Commons.

Most Southern Nevada markets reported increases in September, including a 6 percent gain in downtown Las Vegas and a 24.2 percent increase on the Boulder Strip.

Modest gains were reported across much of the rest of the state as well, (Continue reading…)

Mining Industry Big Nevada Job Creator

CARSON CITY – A report released today shows that Nevada’s mining industry has accounted for 14 percent of jobs added statewide in the past year and 33 percent of jobs added statewide since the recession ended in June 2009.

Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

The Nevada Mining Association announced the findings, which come from a recent study completed by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis.

“While accounting for just 1 percent of Nevada employment and 5 percent of Nevada GDP, the mining industry was responsible for 33 percent of the jobs added in Nevada since the end of the recession,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst for (Continue reading…)

Many New Faces In Nevada Legislature For 2013

CARSON CITY – The 63-member Nevada Legislature will see quite a few new faces when it convenes Feb. 4, including 11 members in the Assembly and 10 members in the Senate, although several newly elected state senators have moved up from the Assembly.

One of the new Assembly members is Democrat Ellen Spiegel in District 20 in Henderson, who served in the 2009 session but lost re-election in 2010. Also new will be Republican Wes Duncan in District 37. Duncan unseated Democrat Marcus Conklin in the only loss by an incumbent in the 42-member Assembly.

Newly elected Assemblyman Wes Duncan.

One newly elected Assembly candidate’s (Continue reading…)

Nevada Voters Approve Legislative Special Session Measure

CARSON CITY – A majority of Nevada voters on Tuesday approved a measure sought by some state lawmakers that will now allow them to call a special session of the Legislature on “extraordinary occasions.”

The vote in support of the constitutional amendment was 54 percent to 46 percent opposed.

The Nevada state Senate in session, 2011. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

The change will now allow the Legislature, on extraordinary occasions and only with two-thirds support of lawmakers in each house, to call itself into special session. Sessions would be limited to 20 days, but could be convened on a continuous basis if the extraordinary conditions requirement was (Continue reading…)

Democrats Narrowly Maintain Control Of State Senate

CARSON CITY – The Nevada state Senate will remain in Democratic control following Tuesday’s election after three Republican candidates won victories in five closely contested races, one short of the number needed for a change of power.

Democrats won two of the five races in play for control of the Senate, maintaining the 11-10 status quo over Republicans.

Republicans needed to win four of the five contested seats to achieve an 11-10 edge and win control of the Senate. Democrats have controlled the Senate since 2008.

But Republicans won only three of the five races, all of which were closely contested.

The results ensure that both the 21-member Senate and the 42-member (Continue reading…)

State Senate Candidates Await Fate

CARSON CITY – The precincts have been walked, the issues debated and the media campaigns run. Now many Nevada voters will get to weigh in on five critical races to determine whether Republicans or Democrats will control the state Senate after the polls close tomorrow.

The 21-member Senate currently has an 11-10 Democratic edge.

Gov. Brian Sandoval and many of his Republican colleagues are working to change this by winning at least four of five of the races in play between the two parties on Election Day tomorrow.

Sandoval, who is expected to push for further education reforms and other changes in the 2013 session, would love to have the leverage a Republican (Continue reading…)

Sandoval Announces Education Grant Agreement

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval announced today that the Clark County School District’s  $40 million Race to the Top grant application will move forward with the support of the Clark County Education Association.

“I was informed this morning that the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association have signed the Race to the Top letter,” Sandoval said in a statement. “I am pleased that by working together, leaders of education in Clark County were able to agree to get this done for our children. I look forward to continuing to work with all parties to improve education in our state.”

Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones said: (Continue reading…)