The 2013 Nevada Legislative Session: Review & Report Card

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

After years during which baseline revenue failed to grow, state revenues were beginning to turn around ahead of the 2013 Nevada Legislative Session. Even with more than $700 million in temporary tax hikes set to expire, Nevada was projected to receive more tax revenue by FY 2015 than it received in FY 2012.

The Economic Forum — tasked with developing official revenue estimates for the state — announced in November 2012 that, despite the pending expiration of statewide increases in sales and payroll taxes, Nevada’s general fund would receive $5.812 billion for the 2013-2015 budget cycle. That’s very close to the $6.152 billion state government received in the 2011-2013 budget cycle.

In March 2012, however, Gov. Brian Sandoval announced an intention to seek continuation, for another two years, of “temporary” tax hikes. Most of these tax hikes were originally scheduled to sunset at the conclusion of the 2009-2011 budget cycle.

This decision stood in stark contrast to his campaign trail promises, when Sandoval vowed to voters in 2010 that he would fight against any extension of the so-called “sunset taxes.”

Sandoval’s decision to raise taxes set the tone for the entire 2013 Legislative Session.

Legislators scores are on pages 25-26, and Gov. Sandoval’s score is on page 27.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.