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May 29, 2015

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Senate Democrats may not back revenue neutral tax reform

CARSON CITY--Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said Wednesday a revenue neutral approach to tax reform advocated by his Democratic counterpart in the Assembly may not go far enough in addressing the need for additional tax dollars for education and other state services.

While Republican support has been growing for reform that would broaden the tax structure but not necessarily result in in a tax increase this year, the approach has had a lukewarm reception from Democrats.

Denis said he would wait for full hearings on all the options before passing final judgement, but indicated he believes education needs more funding immediately.

"Until I actually see the numbers, I don't want to say," Denis said. "But if I had to guess now, I would probably say it's not enough.

"I've talked about the 'now' factor. We want to (spend more on education) now."

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, said earlier this week that she would pursue revenue neutral tax reform, which might include extending the state sales tax to services such as accounting, legal advice and hairdressing. She said a tax increase this session would probably be untenable. Kirkpatrick, however, also wants to increase education funding and restore state employees to their full salaries.

Denis said he wants to first assess how much education and other state services actually need to function properly.

"Then we can talk about revenue," he said.

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