Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 | 2:28 p.m.
CARSON CITY – A legislative subcommittee embarking on a study of Nevada’s tax system is running into early questions and pitfalls in choosing a group to chart the goals for Nevada in the next two decades.
Called the Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group, members will represent commerce and industry, education, health and human services, public safety and infrastructure.
Members of the vision group will have to put in up to 20 hours a month but there’s no money to pay them or reimburse them for travel, hotel rooms and meals.
Sen. Bernice Mathews, D-Reno, said there should be some money at least to cover travel. “Great ideas come from people with limited money,” she said at a meeting Monday of the Legislative Subcommittee to conduct a review of Nevada’s Revenue Structure.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said the membership of this vision group “can’t be lopsided with the sector using taxes versus those who are paying the taxes.”
Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, questioned why there was no sector of local government represented in this vision group setting the goals for the future.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said he wants “broad representation” on this vision group. But the tax committee did not select a number of members.
Horsford, chairman of the tax subcommittee, named Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, to head a committee to recommend the vision membership. Groups or lobby organizations have until Oct. 9 to submit nominees to the Legislative Counsel Bureau to serve.
Horsford also selected Raggio to head a subcommittee to review the proposals submitted by companies that want to be a consultant to the committee. There is no estimate how much this private firm would be paid but $500,000 was mentioned.
The companies that want the job must submit their resumes by Oct. 1.
Once the tax committee gets an estimate of how much the study will cost, it will submit a request for the money to the state Board of Examiners to draw the cash from the state’s contingency fund.
The 2009 Legislature passed a resolution that said Nevada’s existing tax sources “are insufficient to fund essential state services such as education, health and human services and public safety programs.”
This subcommittee will look at plans for broad-based taxes but at the same time examine reductions in taxes to consumers and business.
The consulting firm that is selected must present its final recommendations on changes to the tax structure in Nevada and the goals suggested by the vision group by July 1 next year.
The tax subcommittee also took a brief look at the five prior studies of Nevada’s taxes, dating back to 1960. The most recent was produced in November 2002.