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August 31, 2015

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Damon Political Report

Liberal activists pressure lawmakers for a tax increase, Democrats to release plan Thursday

Sun Coverage

As lawmakers hurtle into an all out battle over taxes, liberal activists this morning delivered their demands for an overhaul of the state’s tax structure, calling for an elimination of the current payroll tax and implementing corporate income tax, higher taxes on mining companies and expanding the sales tax to services.

The call in some ways mirrors a tax plan expected to be released by Democrats on Thursday.

Democrats are expected to call for a permanent lifting of the sunsets on the 2009 increase, expanding the sales tax to services and implementing a business franchise tax to offset Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed cuts to education and health and human services.

Democratic leaders also would replace the payroll taxes with the new business tax.

Their plan is being put forth as a series of options to fund various add backs to the budget, as well as stabilize the tax structure.

Democrats have worked hard to garner the support of important business industry leaders. Some of those leaders are expected to express their support for varying parts of the plan in an open meeting tomorrow.

One business lobbyist said this week the services tax, which the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce fought for in 2003, would likely see more support than the franchise tax.

Republicans in the Legislature have remained adamant in their support of Sandoval’s $6 billion budget, which includes no tax increases but relies on a variety of short-term funding options to increase spending beyond existing tax revenue.

Liberal activists with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada held a press conference today lambasting Sandoval’s budget and urging lawmakers to provide enough funding to preserve government jobs and services.

“It’s inconceivable for some of us how Gov. Sandoval can sleep at night,” PLAN director Bob Fulkerson said.

But activists said they also hold Democrats responsible for avoiding a true debate about the state’s tax structure and made clear they expect Democratic lawmakers to succeed in raising taxes this session.

“If they don’t have mining in there, we will be very, very discouraged,” activist Jan Gilbert said.

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