February 12, 2019
12 Feb 2019

Political Update – February 12, 2019

Nevada Republicans say Sisolak tax renewal plan gives them leverage 

Bill Dentzer
Las Vegas Review-Journal

January 17, 2019

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak fleshed out his spending requests Thursday with the release of an $8.9 billion proposed budget that puts the cost of teacher raises, one of his signature proposals, at $180 million over two years.

While pledging no new taxes in his State of the State address Wednesday night, the Democrat is proposing retention of two taxes that were scheduled to be reduced or phased out at the end of fiscal year June 30. Keeping them would generate $138 million over the two-year budget period that will start July 1.

But Republican lawmakers said Thursday that such an extension is a new tax in everything but name and would require a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature. Democrats hold that supermajority in the 42-seat Assembly but are one vote short of it in the 21-member Senate.

“When a tax expires and you renew it, I think the N-E-W part of that means it’s new,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville. “Unless they can make some kind of deal with the Senate on that side, I believe it will fail.”

The state’s modified business tax was slated for a reduction June 30. Retaining it through June 2021 would generate $48 million a year. Similarly, Sisolak wants to keep a portion of the governmental services tax that was scheduled to sunset in June. The tax, paid by vehicle registration, is based on the vehicle’s value. Keeping the tax as is would generate an additional $21 million annually.

Quote of
the week



“It’s a new tax. They’re reauthorizing a new tax. If it was not a new tax, we wouldn’t need to vote on it.”

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer,
LVRJ, January 17, 2019

Even the Federal Reserve finds problems with PERS

Victor Joecks

Las Vegas Review-Journal

February 7, 2019

The Federal Reserve recently examined Nevada’s pension system. The results are sobering.

It found that Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System had an unfunded liability of $43.3 billion in 2016. For context, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s proposed two-year general fund budget is $9 billion.

PERS’ funding ratio, which compares assets with liabilities, was only 45.5 percent in 2016. In 2008, PERS’ funding ratio bottomed out at 41.4 percent. That’s not good. It gets even worse.

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