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Speaker Kirkpatrick introduces entertainment tax bill

Updated Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | 1:46 p.m.

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, today introduced a sweeping measure to tax entertainment venues-- everything from movies to strip clubs to sporting events.

Assembly Bill 498-- a centerpiece of Kirkpatrick's policy agenda to clean up Nevada tax code-- is the first major piece of state tax legislation to make an appearance this session.

The Nevada Entertainment and Admissions Tax would replace the live entertainment tax-- a cumbersome levy on concerts and other venues that has been applied haphazardly and includes myriad exemptions.

Under AB 498, an 8 percent charge would be assessed on any venue charging admission or requiring a minimum purchase of food, alcohol or merchandise for admittance. The current live entertainment tax rate is split-- 10 percent for small venues and 5 percent for large venues.

Only venues with 50 or fewer seats and nonprofit organizations would be exempt from the tax under AB 498.

Kirkpatrick said she did not know how much revenue the new tax would generate, saying legislative staff is still running the numbers. But, she added her common refrain that the bill is "not about the money."

"It's a policy that gets rid of exemptions," she said. "It's about the policy, not about the money. It's about collecting what we set out to collect in 2003."

Since the live entertainment tax was created in 2003, various venues have won exemptions, including minor league baseball parks and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Outdoor concerts also are exempt, which means huge events such as the Electric Daisy Carnival and Burning Man do not currently pay the tax.

Although Republicans voiced early support for revamping the live entertainment tax, the sheer scope of Kirkpatrick's bill has prompted some skepticism from the GOP.

This story has been edited to correct the current tax rates.

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