Will Tax Reform Take a Backseat to the Budget?

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Will Tax Reform Take a Backseat to the Budget?


Brandon Rittiman/KUNR

Members of the Senate Revenue Committee listen to an explanation of the State's current tax revenue.

For full coverage of the Nevada Legislature, visit SessionAccess.org

There's a lot of uncertainty about taxes this session, but what is certain is that Democrats will want to undo some of the cuts proposed by Governor Sandoval.

Many expect they'll try to tax more as part of the solution, but as of yet that's not been the case.

If the first tax committee hearings are any indication, you can expect lawmakers to tackle the budget at hand before tackling the longer-term issue of reforming the state's tax structure.

But tax reform's come up many times before and tends to flounder.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford says just because we don't see reform proposals front and center early doesn't mean they're taking a back seat to the budget crisis.

Horsford: "It's not an ‘either-or' scenario it's an ‘and-also'. We have to fund the essential needs now while at the same time building a more fair and less volatile revenue structure for the future."

But those following taxes are concerned about all this. Carole Villardo, who heads the Nevada Taxpayers' Association doesn't think a tax reform package would succeed unless it starts taking shape early.

Pushing it back, she says, wouldn't allow enough time to do justice to such a complicated issue.

Villardo: "It would be nice if when we discussed tax reform instead of just using buzz words, we would actually put some things out on the table."

Any movement on taxes can't be done by Democrats alone. They'll need to pick up a handful of Republican votes in both houses for the two-thirds majority tax changes require.

Some Republicans have taken softer stances than Governor Sandoval's promise to fight any and all tax increases, but getting them to vote "yea" is a different thing entirely.

One reason you may hear a lot of tax talk, but much less action until late in the session.