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Bill countering Caesars’ tax proposal advances in Senate

CARSON CITY — A bill to ask voters whether sales tax rates should remain uniform within Nevada counties advanced Tuesday in the Legislature.

The Senate Committee on Revenue voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 495, which would put the question to voters in 2012.

The bill is in response to a ballot measure backed by Caesars Entertainment that will ask voters to increase sales tax on the Strip to fund a sports arena on land provided by the casino company.

The Legislature voted previously to reject Caesars’ effort, a move that put the arena decision in the hands of voters.

Still, leaders of MGM Resorts International, Boyd Gaming and other casino companies opposed to Caesars’ plan wanted to do more to undermine the tax-funded arena.

They backed SB495 because, if approved by voters, it would kill Caesars’ plan or others like it by restricting the ability of anyone to establish a higher sales tax rate in just one part of a county.

“This is an issue that should be left to the voters, so I will be supporting the measure,” Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said before the committee voted.

The bill will advance to the full Senate.

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