Friday was the Legislature’s deadline to pass bills out of opposite house committees. As a result, a lot of legislation was effectively laid to rest this weekend. However, many bills of great importance to the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as individual lawmakers, have been exempted from the deadline calendar by leadership.
Some of the bills still alive in Carson City represent great policy improvements for the state. Some bills would make existing problems much worse. Following a similar Sunday editorial, here are more recommendations for the Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval as they head into the final two weeks of the 2013 session.
Bills to pass:
■ Assembly Bill 227: One of the state’s biggest economic liabilities is a lack of private land; the federal government controls more than 80 percent of Nevada’s acreage. AB227 would lay the groundwork for the transfer of more federal land to local control.
■ Assembly Bill 190: Currently, lobbyists report spending on lawmakers only during legislative sessions. AB190 would require lobbyists to report all their spending all year, every year. Such reports would better reveal which lawmakers are beholden to which special interests.
■ Senate Bill 74: This legislation makes copying public records more affordable for the public and makes it harder for governments to drag out the completion of records requests. The more sunshine in government, the better.
■ Senate Bill 445: Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program would give businesses tax credits for helping low- to middle-income students escape substandard schools. SB445 is a modest step toward greater school choice in Nevada.
Bills to kill:
■ Senate Bill 514: Nevada’s modified business tax, or payroll tax, is a disincentive to job creation in the state with the country’s highest jobless rate. SB514 would make the rate even higher than another two-year extension of the existing rate of 1.17 percent, taking it all the way to 1.5 percent for payroll above $250,000. SB514 would stick businesses struggling to survive and avert layoffs with even higher tax bills.
■ Assembly Bill 26: Remember how mad you were when lawmakers raised motor vehicle taxes by changing the depreciation schedule, reducing the annual decreases you had come to expect from the DMV? AB26 would take a similar approach with your property taxes, shrinking the annual rate of your home’s depreciation from 1.5 percent to 1 percent. Nevada home and land values are still recovering, but if AB26 becomes law, you’ll wind up paying many thousands of dollars more in property taxes over the life of your home or business.
■ Senate Bill 165: Some lawmakers want to raise taxes on Nevada businesses that have taken risks to create permanent jobs here. Some of those same lawmakers propose giving tax relief to the film industry as a carrot to lure more productions, with their temporary jobs. SB165 could result in a net loss for the state treasury. How about tax relief for Nevada businesses instead?