Sandoval disagrees with Laxalt plan to eliminate commerce tax

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday he disagrees with Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s proposal to eliminate the commerce tax.

Sandoval responded to a report in the Nevada Independent that Laxalt, expected to announce a bid for governor in the coming weeks, wants to repeal the levy sought by Sandoval and approved with some Republican support in 2015.

“I think it is going to hurt kids. I think it is going to hurt teachers. I think it is going to hurt parents,” he said in response to a question after the Board of Examiners meeting. “It would hurt our K-through- 12 system.”

Sandoval said the tax on businesses with gross revenues that exceed $4 million annually will bring in $391 million over the current two-year budget, every dollar of which is going directly to public education, from Zoom schools to autism programs.

Nevada has the highest level of employment in the history of the state, and unemployment is the lowest since the recession, he said.

“It has not hurt our ability to recruit great companies to this state,” Sandoval said. “The companies have said they thought it was good that it is all going to the benefit of their employees and their families. Certainly, they want a good education system, because that translates into a strong workforce.”

With one exception, Sandoval said he has not personally received criticism of the commerce tax from those businesses required to pay it.

Controller Ron Knecht and former Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers filed a referendum petition this summer to repeal the tax. The petition needs 112,544 signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot in November 2018.

Sandoval said he has not endorsed a candidate in the Republican primary for governor, but he did say he believes Laxalt is qualified for the job. The only Republicans to announce so far are state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Las Vegas bike shop owner Jared Fisher.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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