Northern Nevada has a well-deserved reputation as a great place to do business. But we can’t take that advantage for granted. Policymakers are considering proposals related to the taxes you pay, education and the quality of our roads and highways. These policies affect your ability to run and grow your business. As a businessperson, you ignore public policy at your own peril. The Chamber is the only broad-based business group in our community that aggressively advocates a pro-business policy agenda on your behalf. We also endorse and support pro-business candidates for public office. Click here to see our Agenda for Economic Vitality.
Your Chamber supports Northern Nevada businesses in many ways. We are on the ground full-time in Carson City while the Legislature is in session. Here are this year’s priorities as we support your business in Carson City:
1. Stable and Predictable Tax Policy for Nevada Nevada’s prospects for economic vitality hinge in significant part on a stable and predictable tax policy that encourages companies to locate facilities and wealth-building industries in the state. Many of the companies doing business in, or considering relocating to, Nevada are here because the state has no income tax, no weight-distance tax, no estate tax and no inventory tax. The Chamber opposes the imposition of any such tax, but does support tax reform that results in a broad-based, fair, and stable system.
2. Broaden Nevada’s Tax Base by Implementing a Sales Tax on Services When the current sales tax on goods was implemented in 1955, Nevada’s economy was close to 75% goods-based. Today, we are a service-based economy and that sector will only continue to grow. If we implement a sales tax on services (with limited exemptions) and reduce the sales tax on goods, we will broaden and stabilize our tax base, while ultimately bringing in more revenue to our state and local governments. This also ensures that every Nevadan pays for essential services and the burden is reduced for job creators.
3. Reform of Nevada’s Property Tax Structure Nevada is the only state in the nation that assesses and imposes property tax in the manner we do. Our system should be changed to include assessment based on market rates, with depreciation resetting at point-of-sale. Business and residential property value growth should be capped at the same percentage rate and the slow rise back to baseline after a dramatic reduction should be addressed.
4. Reform Employee Collective Bargaining Laws (NRS 288) In order to ensure the efficient delivery of government services, we will oppose giving state employees collective bargaining rights. To allow local government entities to deliver services to residents efficiently, binding arbitration should be eliminated. We need to clarify that school administrators and other supervisory employees are not covered under NRS 288.
5. Adopt a Sustainable Government Employee Retirement Benefits Policy The Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) faces unfunded liabilities of over $10 billion. Additionally, public employee benefits are out of step with private sector benefits in many cases. To address these problems, implement a retirement age based on the Social Security system for public employees and start moving public employees toward a defined contribution, 401-k- type system.
6. Strengthen Workforce Development Efforts We need to ensure that Nevada’s workforce development efforts continue to be aligned with the needs of employers. This means that K-12, our community colleges, our universities, and private training organizations should all be on the same page. A cabinet-level department is a good first step, but we also must ensure that our limited public resources are spent as effectively as possible.
7. Maintain Important Hard-Fought Reforms of 2015 Many important reforms were achieved during the 2015 Legislative Session, including in the areas of education, construction defect, prevailing wage, tort law, and some public employee collective bargaining and pension changes. We must ensure that we maintain these changes and allow them to work and not go backwards.
8. Change Daily Overtime Law to Match Federal Law Current state law requires that any employee who earns time-and-a-half the minimum wage or less is entitled to overtime pay after eight hours of work in a 24-hour period. This means that an employee can be entitled to overtime pay even if he/she has not worked forty hours in that week. This system makes it especially hard for shift workers in the catering, hospitality, and home healthcare industry. The Chamber supports legislation to bring NRS in line with federal law and return Nevada to a 40-hour work week.
Tray Abney Director of Government Relations (775) 636-9543