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

Geoffrey Lawrence is a senior policy fellow at Reason Foundation.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and a decade as a think tank analyst. Lawrence was previously Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer at Players Network, Inc, the first fully-reporting, publicly-traded marijuana company to be listed on a U.S. exchange. Lawrence oversaw all aspects of compliance with state and local laws and regulations for the licensed cultivation operations across two states.

Prior to that, Lawrence served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions, on behalf of the state. 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.

Lawrence spent a decade developing market-based solutions to challenges facing state governments while working at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and, previously, the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina. Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.

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.