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January 25, 2015

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Damon Political Report

Horsford will continue pursuing ballot measure on margin tax


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford speaks during the first day of the 2011 legislative session Monday, February 7, 2011 in Carson City.

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Sun Coverage

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, made clear today that Democrats still plan to go to the ballot with their scuttled proposal to create a margin tax on businesses.

As lawmakers enter final negotiations over how to solve a potential $656 million shortfall in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget, Horsford said he is not backing away from his priority to permanently reform the state’s tax structure.

As part of that reform, Horsford has demanded changes to the way the mining industry takes its deductions and has pushed for a broad-based business tax to replace the current payroll tax assessed on businesses.

Horsford’s proposal to “close the tax loopholes” on mining is still in play and being considered by the governor. But Democrats had to abandon their proposals to create a 1 percent tax on services and a 0.8 percent margin tax on adjusted gross business revenue.

Horsford said he plans to keep the idea of a margin tax ballot measure alive in the final negotiations with Republicans and the governor.

“I believe voters deserve to have a say in whether this state has a broad-based, more stable and equitable tax structure,” Horsford said.

Democrats need only a simple majority to pass a measure to put the margin tax on the ballot.

Earlier this week, Democrats gave up their effort to pass new taxes and focused their effort on convincing Republicans to back an extension of the 2009 tax increases to offset the cuts proposed by Sandoval.

Sandoval opposed lifting the sunset on those taxes until a Nevada Supreme Court decision Thursday threw into question whether he can take $656 million in local government revenue to balance his budget.

Sandoval is now considering lifting the sunset on a portion of the 2009 taxes.

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