Margin Tax Discussion – Nevada Newsmakers

On November 1, I was happy to be Sam Shad’s guest on Nevada Newsmakers to discuss the margin tax ballot petition.  We ended up having a lively discussion.  I represented a coalition that is seeking to invalidate the petition and the other guy represented the unions seeking a tax increase.  As an added bonus, you can watch the other guy call me a “fancy talker.” For context, the margin tax petition has been invalidated by a court twice now this year. You can watch it on the newsmakers website here:

Margin Tax Petition Invalidated

Today, a District Court Judge invalidated the description of effect in the proposed ballot initiative to implement a new margin tax in Nevada.  The Judge found four distinct ways in which the description of the initiative’s effect was deceptive and misleading.  I’m proud to represent the Committee for Nevada Jobs in its efforts to ensure that Nevadans are adequately informed of the impacts of this ballot petition.  You can read a copy of the Judge’s order here:  Download CTPNJ Order 10-23-2012

Gaming and the Mob

I had the opportunity today to co-host an interview with long-time Nevada gaming attorney and former Nevada Gaming Commissioner Paul Bible.  Paul had some fascinating stories about the mob’s influence on gaming and how gaming was cleaned up by dedicated regulators.  You can access the video by clicking here.

A Tax By Any Other Name . . .

Over the weekend, the Reno Gazette-Journal ran an editorial suggesting that it’s time for Nevadans to consider a corporate “margins” tax.  The Las Vegas Sun wrote that a coalition has formed to push for a margins tax via an initiative petition.  Unsuccessful legislation to enact a margin tax was considered by the Nevada Legislature in the first half of 2011, and was modeled on a similar tax enacted in Texas in 2006. The Texas Constitution is similar to the Nevada Constitution in that both prohibit an income tax on individuals.  Members of a limited partnership in Texas recently … Continue Reading »

Dawn of a New Era for the Veto?

In 2009, then Governor Gibbons was criticized for vetoing a record 48 bills (8 of those bills pertained to the budget), surpassing the prior record of 33 set in the 19th century. In 2011, Governor Sandoval vetoed 28 bills, putting him in third place for vetoes by a Nevada Governor. Much of the reason for the increase in vetoes can be traced to the fact that beginning in 2009 the Legislature was controlled by one party while the other party held the Governor’s Office.  That has only happened three times in the past 50 years (1967, 1979 and … Continue Reading »

It’s Not Only State Revenues That Have Declined . . .

As the Governor and Nevada Legislature prepare to enact a budget for the next two years, speculation has been rampant that the state will look to local governments to make up a large part of the deficit.  Local government revenues have historically (at least in the past few decades) been relatively stable, as they are premised in large part on property taxes. However, the ongoing recession has significantly impacted both commercial and residential property values, and although assessments traditionally lag behind market shifts, the decline in values is starting to … Continue Reading »

The Name Game

Some eyebrows recently raised in Nevada when the majority Democrat leadership changed the name of the former “Committee on Taxation” to the “Committee on Revenue.”  But, the fact that caucus leadership may change a committee name is nothing new. For example, in Colorado the GOP recently took control of the state House of Representatives.  The change in control resulted in “energy” being dropped from the Transportation and Energy Committee, “labor” being dropped from the Business Affairs and Labor Committee, and “human services” being dropped from the Health and Human Services Committee.  Colorado Democrats immediately began criticizing the name … Continue Reading »

To Elect or Appoint Judges?

This fall Nevada voters will presented with a ballot question that would provide for the initial appointment of judges.  Currently, judges are elected and consequently need to raise money to fund campaigns.  The impact of campaign contributions on judicial impartiality, both real and perceived, is significant. The proposed reform would amend Nevada law to provide for the appointment of judges by the Governor from a list of candidates selected by the Judicial Selection Commission, followed by retention elections whereby the electorate can choose to retain or remove those judges.  Currently, judges are appointed in Nevada … Continue Reading »

Super-Sized PACs

An earlier blog post discussed the impact of FEC v. Citizens United on political expenditures in Nevada.  The Las Vegas Review Journal also ran an interesting piece on the same subject.  In the latest developments, the FEC issued advisory opinions that effectively allow corporations and unions to make unlimited contributions to independent expenditure committees (although usual PAC disclosure rules remain in place).  Although those committees are not affiliated with or allowed to coordinate with campaigns, the committees are free to make independent expenditures for or against candidates.  These so-called “super” PACs will undoubtedly be a force in … Continue Reading »

State Budget Relief?

With a projected shortfall for the upcoming biennium of somewhere around $3 billion, Nevada’s budget is in serious trouble.  However, the latest concept forfederal bailout money is aimed at providing fiscal relief to beleaguered states, by way of payments Medicaid payments that are otherwise a serious drain on a state budget. Under the Recovery Act, Nevada received around $450 million to help with Medicaid payments.  The current legislation proposes $16.1 billion nationwide.  Although Nevada’s ultimate share is unknown (and is of course dependent on the bill passing Congress in the first place), most will view any help … Continue Reading »