Since The Nevada Independent sprung into existence in 2017, we’ve covered three legislative sessions and fights over major tax policies pushed to the very end of the 120 days.
In 2017, a 10 percent excise tax on marijuana was defeated after negotiations broke down over a bill funding Education Savings Accounts, but was eventually resurrected in a compromise that saw another “school choice” program funded in exchange for votes from Republicans.
In 2019, Democrats pushed through a bill making permanent an expiring state payroll tax rate, relying in part on a legal opinion that the maneuver did not require a two-thirds majority vote (a move eventually struck down by the state Supreme Court.)
But even with diminished Democratic majorities, the mining tax bill of the 2021 session (AB495) appeared to glide to passage — introduced on Saturday evening, heard Sunday, and then passed out both legislative chambers on Monday with the needed two-thirds majority, even getting four of nine Republican senators in favor.
But the quick passage and (relatively brief) floor speeches are only the tip of the iceberg and don’t explain why a tax deal in 2021 worked out when many of the same players and issues were involved in past sessions.
The final deal was sealed up in a Sunday morning meeting in the state Capitol — all four legislative leaders, budget committee chairs and top Republicans on those committees (Sen. Ben Kieckhefer and Assemblywoman Jill Tolles) met with Gov. Steve Sisolak and his staff, agreeing to the rough contours of the “deal” to pass the mining tax with enough Republican votes in tow.
The deal wasn’t fully baked — negotiations and last minute requests continued until the final hours of session, including a hold up on voting out the capital improvements budget bill until the final