Posts Tagged ‘tax increase’

Nevadans Will Pay Nearly 5 Percent More If Tax Breaks Expire

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:12 am November 26th, 2012

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 be the 4.12 percent rate in Washington state.

The total tax increase in Nevada would be $3,211 from 2011 to 2013, with $1,000 coming from the Child Tax Credit, $907 from other Bush era tax cuts, and $1,304 from an increase in the payroll tax, according to the Tax Foundation’s tax policy calculator.

In an analysis of the fiscal cliff released earlier this month, the Tax Foundation notes that on Jan. 1, 2013, five taxes enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – also called Obamacare – will take effect as well, along with sequester spending reductions of $109 billion due to the failure of the “supercommittee” to reach consensus on budget reductions.

“Taken together this fiscal cliff could potentially reduce economic output by hundreds of billions of dollars,” the foundation reports.

Various estimates have but the effects of the fiscal cliff on the economy at 4 percent or more of the gross domestic product in 2013.

The Tax Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan tax research organization based in Washington, D.C.

Republicans Accuse Democrats of Ignoring Republican Bills As Deadline Looms

By Andrew Doughman | 7:10 pm April 6th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Add it up and some of them have to die.

There is not enough time for the Legislature to hear every bill, but that has not stopped Republicans from accusing Democrats of ignoring Republican bills.

The partisan sniping comes as legislators are scrambling to save their bills from extinction of bills as a legislative deadline looms.

Republicans in the Assembly have the added weight of a list of bills they need to see passed before considering voting for a tax increase.

If some proposals are not given a look, “you’re not going to get a tax increase,” said Assemblyman Mark Sherwood, R-Las Vegas.

He accused some committee chairs of completely ignoring Republican bills.

Democrats see it differently.

“We don’t want to spend our resources, frankly, on things that don’t have a chance,” said Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas.

Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, made a point that new legislators like Sherwood may have unrealistic expectations.

“I think part of the issue is that we have a lot of new people who have a vision in their head that everything will get heard,” he said. “And it just doesn’t happen.”

Oceguera also noted that there are more Democrats than Republicans, so the ratio of bills heard in committees reflects that.

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, sent an email to Majority Leader Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, yesterday alleging that Senate Democrats also are ignoring Republican bills.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, Republican leadership in the Senate downplayed the allegations, calling them “isolated incidents.”

Roberson, who is a freshman legislator, said yesterday that he is not alone in his views.

“Some people would consider the way they’re [Democrats] running things foolhardy,” he said. “…If the Democrats don’t want to hear our bills, that’s their prerogative. However, we are elephants and we do have long memories.”

Democrats in leadership positions have yet to propose any tax increases, but would need some Republican help to overcome a veto from GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval has said repeatedly he won’t “trade taxes for anything.”

Other Republicans, however, might make trades, and how their bills are treated may be part of the bargain.

But the partisan rancor over who gets their bills heard does not apply to all committees.

Minority Assembly leader Pete Giocoechea, R-Eureka, said that the bills are just “slow coming” and there is not yet a problem.

He noted the Legislature still has seven working days left before the deadline for committees to pass bills.

Some committee leaders also do seem to be hearing bills from both parties. Today, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, gave a contentious Republican bill a hearing.

The bill from Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, resembles a controversial immigration law in Arizona. Democrats would almost certainly not vote for Hansen’s bill.

“She [Kirkpatrick] went out of her way to give me a hearing knowing that bill was dead on arrival,” he said. “There is a level of fairness in that they give me a chance to be heard.”

Next Friday is the first deadline for bills to pass out of their committee. Not all bills get hearings and more bills will die later.

That’s part of the process, says Oceguera.

“The process is built in such a way to kill bills,” he said. “It’s not built in a way to pass bills. It’s hard to pass a bill. It’s easy to kill bills.”


Board of Regents Chairman Calls For Tax Increases

By Andrew Doughman | 2:41 pm January 28th, 2011

A prominent education official has called for tax increases to offset the proposed higher education budget cuts in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget.

James Dean Leavitt, chair of the board that governs Nevada’s higher education system, said today that he would like the Legislature to use a “revenue enhancement” to offset every dollar the governor proposes to cut from the system.

He said that the Legislature should maintain the level of funds that it appropriated to Nevada’s higher education system during the 2010 special session.

Sandoval’s budget recommends a $162 million reduction in state spending for the next biennium. Chancellor Dan Klaich, who oversees the Nevada System of Higher Education, said yesterday at a legislative budget subcommittee hearing that a 73 percent tuition increase would be necessary to offset that decrease.

Leavitt said the universities and colleges of this state have already taken three successive years of cuts and any further cuts would have a “cataclysmic impact” for the state. While acknowledging the need for spending accountability, he said the system should be properly funded.

“That means coming up with new revenue from any and all sources,” he said. “What’s unfortunate is that we look at any revenue enhancement as a burden and … not a public good.”

Leavitt is the chair of the Board of Regents, the governing body that determines how to spend the money the Legislature appropriates to it. The Board of Regents oversees all of the state’s universities and community colleges.

He condemned the proposed budget cuts at a town hall meeting at UNLV earlier today.

Sandoval, however, has said repeatedly that he would not support a tax increase and would veto any bill containing one.

The governor has also repeated a mantra that government agencies should make each dollar go further.

“You have to have money in order to invest money,” said Dale Erquiaga, the governor’s senior adviser, at a press conference yesterday. “All investors know, when you only have a finite amount of money, you have to make your money work harder, and we believe the budget does that.”

The governor responded to criticisms of his proposed budget in a statement released this afternoon. “It is important for Nevadans to know that we are not the only state facing challenges in funding higher education,” he said. “The economic situation across the nation is forcing governors and Legislatures to make reductions in higher education spending. Some are facing even deeper cuts than Nevada.”

Leavitt, however, said that there’s “tremendous support” for properly funding higher education, partially because there’s a direct public benefit from the system.

Yesterday, Klaich came close to voicing support for a tax increase.

“I’m not sure that the people of Nevada don’t want taxes to support education,” he said. “I don’t just accept the fact that our friends and neighbors don’t want to support education by means of enhanced revenues.”

Other higher education officials have been less supportive of any spending increases. Mark Alden, a member of the Board of Regents, said that new taxes should be the last resort.

He said he needs more time to study the budget and look at every way to cut expenses first. If further evaluation proves the higher education system needs more funding, he said he would support a “modest business tax.”

Today, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, responded to the proposed higher-education budget cuts with a letter slamming the governor’s plan.

Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, has also criticized the governor’s proposed cuts to both the K-12 and higher education budgets.

“We all understand that we will not be able to turn around this economy without a well-educated workforce to attract new businesses, yet the governor is proposing draconian cuts to education funding,” he said in a statement released earlier today.

Democrats in the Senate and Assembly have, however, thus far proposed no plan of their own to counter the governor’s.

Erquiaga yesterday challenged Democrats to present their own plan.

“The governor has put his cards on the table,” Erquiaga said. “The other side is talking about the hand they hold.”

The people of Nevada will get to weigh in with their thoughts regarding revenue and budget cuts at tomorrow’s budget, town hall meetings in Reno and Las Vegas.

Coalition Calls For Tax Hike To Fund Public Construction Projects To Create Jobs

By Sean Whaley | 5:46 pm January 20th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A coalition of construction industry groups today advocated for a tax increase to fund public works projects around the state to help put people back to work.

The Building Jobs Coalition presented its proposal, called the “Creating 100,000 Jobs” report, in press conferences in both Las Vegas and Reno.

The proposal will likely face significant challenges, however, with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s vow not to raise taxes, and from critics of Nevada’s prevailing wage law.

Described as a working draft, the coalition notes that the current economic downturn in Nevada has required the private sector to cut 179,400 jobs. The construction industry has cut its workforce by more than 50 percent.

The white paper offers five strategies to turn this around, the first being the creation of a Nevada Job Bonds Support Fund, a stable, dedicated revenue source for capital construction projects.

One option lawmakers should consider for creating such a fund would be a tax increase, either a one-quarter of a cent sales tax, a ten cent property tax levy, or an “infrastructure” surcharge imposed on all licensed vehicles, the coalition says.

Assuming $100 million in annual proceeds, this would increase bonding capacity to $1 billion over 20 years, enough to support 11,500 jobs and break ground on the hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local projects that have been on hold due to lack of funding but that are ready to build, the coalition says.

Pat Pusich, a Reno architect and the coalition’s co-chairman, said: “Without a comprehensive plan for exploiting its strengths and correcting its deficiencies, Nevada could find its position as an attractive place to live, work, invest and conduct business usurped as the nation’s economy heals.”

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, offered this statement on the proposal: “With nearly 15 percent of Nevadans looking for work, creating jobs is the top priority for everyone in our state. Any ideas to create jobs are welcome and needed. I’m thrilled that this collection of industry leaders has taken the initiative and I’ll be looking at their ideas closely.”

Sandoval on Wednesday reiterated his intent to veto any legislation that contains a tax increase, saying the Nevada business community cannot afford it.

Businesses are doing their fair share, and “they are doing whatever it takes to keep people employed,” he said. But talk of potential tax increases on the part of the Legislature is a concern in the business community, Sandoval said.

“They appreciate my position but there is a legislative session coming up,” he said. “So they are going to be watching very closely to see what the tax policy in this state is going to be.”

Specifically in response to the proposal, the Sandoval administration today said:

“The governor supports the goal of job creation, but believes it is best accomplished by private sector growth. The strategy of spending public money we don’t have may yield short-term gains for some, but do long-term damage to the economy as a whole.

“Since this is the first we’ve heard of the proposals, we are reviewing them with interest. The governor’s top priority is building and fostering a business environment which creates new jobs without adding to the tax burden or spending money Nevada doesn’t have.”

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said the requirement that most public works jobs pay the prevailing wage is another concern with the proposal.

He cited a water quality project on the Carson River that Douglas County officials wanted to pursue with Question 1 bond funds approved by voters in 2002 for parks, water and wildfire needs. The project could have been done for $119,000, but because it exceeded the $100,000 threshold for capital projects, it fell under the prevailing wage law. The final estimated cost was $185,000 and there wasn’t enough money to do the project, Settelmeyer said.

The prevailing wage is set by an annual survey of both public and private construction projects. But with most of the projects in recent years being public works that must pay the prevailing wage, the surveys are skewed and labor rates are going up, he said.

“If we want to put people back to work, I’d rather put two guys back to work for $40 an hour each than give one guy $80 an hour, Settelmeyer said. “I’d rather help two families.”

It’s not right that prevailing wage rates are being pushed up each year while state workers are asked to take a pay cut, he said.

Settelmeyer, formerly a member of the Assembly, protested Nevada’s new prevailing wage rates along with several colleagues when they were announced last year by the Labor Commissioner, but the rates were allowed to take effect.

The Legislature, in a special session in February 2010 called to erase an $800 million shortfall, approved legislation removing a sunset on a voter-approved Clark County tax hike to use for bonding purposes for public works jobs.

The coalition says it is working with key lawmakers to pursue its proposals in the upcoming session.

Some of the projects the coalition says are ready to build include a new county jail for Churchill County at a cost of $50 million, and flood control improvements on the Muddy River in Clark County at a cost of $40 million to $50 million.

Members of the coalition include the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Builders Association of Northern Nevada, Electrical Workers Local 401, the National Association of Minority Contractors and many others.

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says the business community cannot afford a tax increase:

012011Sandoval1 :26 keep people employed.”

Sandoval says the business community is waiting to see what the Legislature does regarding taxes:

012011Sandoval2 :19 going to be.”

Sandoval says he will veto any budget with a tax increase:

012011Sandoval3 :06 will veto it.”

WaTi Misreports Angle Record

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:36 am June 3rd, 2010

I completely missed a notable double inaccuracy in that Washington Times story I linked to earlier (which was just now pointed out by Ralston on Twitter).  My excuse is that I was skimming the story for poll data and skipped over all the middle parts.

Here’s the offending sentence:

Mrs. Angle successfully blocked the governor’s proposed $800 million tax increase beginning in 2003 and eventually took the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — and won.

No, she didn’t.

Fifteen legislators blocked the tax increase (although U.S. Senate candidate Chad Christensen has also claimed to have single-handedly stopped it), and the Supreme Court declined to hear the matter.

One wonders where the WaTi got their info.

And one assumes they will correct the error once it is brought to their attention.