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December 21, 2014

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Legislature’s actions will bring higher fees for many Nevadans

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Sam Morris

Gov. Jim Gibbons speaks with the media after what he described as a “cordial” meeting with Republican leaders to discuss differences during the third day of the special legislative session Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, in Carson City.

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Legislative leaders said Nevadans will feel the pain -- including in their pocketbooks -- of the decisions they made to close the budget shortfall.

Those convicted of minor crimes will have to pay an additional $5. Visits to state parks will cost more, as will mining claims. Lobbyists will be assessed more at the 2011 session to raise an extra $100,000.

The Legislature, which adjourned at 2:16 a.m. this morning, tacked on fees to help fill the $887 million deficit facing the state.

The Gaming Control Board will raise the rate it charges for investigating new applicants, from $80 an hour to $135 an hour. Gov. Jim Gibbons had suggested the elimination of 31 positions at the board, but the fee increase will restore 24 of those positions.

Boxing promoters will be able to assess an admission tax of 6 percent, up from the current 4 percent. Banks filing to foreclose on a home will pay an extra $150.

Those seeking to gain vital records from the state for such things as births, deaths and marriages will have to pay more. The exact amount hasn't been determined but the state Health Division has to bring in an additional $368,000 from the higher fees.

Assembly Bill 6, which reduces spending by state agencies and increases some fees, passed the Assembly 34-8 with Republican members opposing the measure. It cleared the Senate 20-1 with Bob Coffin voting no. He favored increasing taxes to offset reductions in government programs.

The Secretary of State's office will increase some of its filing fees. For example, the charge will go up from $75 to $100 for filing a notice of withdrawal from the state by a foreign corporation, for filing articles of dissolution of a domestic or foreign company and for withdrawal of a limited liability partnership.

The fee for filing as a sales representative with the Secretary of State goes from $110 to $125. There are also a number of fee increases, ranging from $25 to $40, for various transactions involving the Secretary of State's office.

The Legislature also imposed an amnesty from July 1 to Oct. 1 to allow delinquent taxpayers to bring their unpaid taxes to the state Department of Taxation without penalty or interest. It is hoped there will be a return of more than $10 million.

The state Division of Insurance has been directed to start a desk audit program to make sure all the insurance premium taxes have been paid. There may bring in an extra $10 million.

One of the biggest debates in the Senate, over AB 6, came on taking more from offenders to help support coffee shops, gymnasiums and part of the cost for correctional officers' salaries for visitation posts.

Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, objected to the money being used for salaries of correctional officers, calling it a step toward a "debtor's prison." She and some other senators complained that if there was not enough money that visiting by families could be curtailed.

The bill permits the prison to impose a fee on the purchase by inmates of a cell phone or other electronic devises.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, said this was "immoral" and would hurt young families and prevent children from seeing their father or mother in prison.

The Legislative Commission will have a chance to examine this policy before the prison puts it into effect.

Those with mining claims will be hit with higher fees. A miner holding 11-199 claims will pay an extra $70 for each. For those with 200 to 1,299, the added fee will be $85 each. And for those miners with more than 1,300 claims, the tab will be $195 each. This increase will expire on June 30, 2011.

Visit to parks is expected to increase by $1 or $2.

Those convicted of offenses in municipal or justice courts will be hit with an extra $5 assessment.

The Legislature also took aim at the lobbyists. There were 600 paid lobbyists and 300 unpaid representatives at the 2009 regular legislative session. The unpaid lobbyist coughed up $20 while the paid got hit an average registration fee of $100.

Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said the new registration fees will be set this fall by the Legislative Commission to collect an extra $100,000. He doesn't want to increase the amount for unpaid lobbyist. But there could be an increase of up to $160 for paid advocates.

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