Sandoval: Too early to decide whether to extend Nevada sunset taxes

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday it is too early to decide if a package of taxes due to sunset at the end of the current budget on June 30, 2015, should be extended into the next state spending plan.

Sandoval took a lot of people by surprise when he announced two years ago that he would extend the taxes, including a higher rate of the modified business tax on large companies and a small sales tax increase, into the current budget.

Sandoval said he made the March 2012 decision early on in the preparation of the 2013-15 budget to avoid any further cuts to public education and other essential services.

The taxes were set to expire on June 30, 2013, but a majority of the Legislature agreed to extend the tax package for the current budget.

Sandoval said the situation has changed in 2014 as the budget building process for the 2015 legislative session begins.

“It’s premature to comment on the budget,” he said. “We just gave out the budget instructions two days ago.

“We’re in a different situation,” Sandoval said. “The economy has improved.”

Tax collections are ahead of projections by the state Economic Forum, he said.

“I want a better idea of where we are,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval strongly opposed continuing the tax increases first approved by the 2009 Legislature in his first session as governor in 2011, but ultimately agreed to do so after a Nevada Supreme Court ruling threw his proposed budget into financial disarray.

The tax extension approved in 2013 did also include relief from the payroll tax for about 70 percent of Nevada’s smaller businesses.

The package is bringing in an estimated $650 million in additional revenue to the current budget.

Sandoval is in the middle of his re-election campaign for a second term as governor. He filed on Friday.