Casino Operators Are Paying More

Published July 25, 2003 by OCR Editor

Casino Operators Are Paying More

Gaming industry officials said the new structure asks their industry to pay the lion's share of the new tax package. The plan calls for a 0.5 percentage point increase in the gaming tax.

Many business owners were relieved when they found out that the gross receipts tax wasn't part of the Legislature's new $836 million tax plan signed into law last week by Gov. Kenny Guinn. But gaming industry officials said the new structure still asks their industry to pay the lion's share of the new tax package. The plan calls for a 0.5 percentage point increase in the gaming tax rate and a 33 percent tax increase in slot license fees.

During a conference call with analysts last week, MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni said the entire state Legislature should be recalled because of its handling of the tax issue.

Like Lanni, Mike Sloan, senior vice president of Mandalay Resort Group and a member of the governor's tax task force, said the casino industry is disappointed the tax burden wasn't spread more fairly among Silver State businesses.

Roger Buehrer, a spokesman for Southwest Gas Corp., said the company is analyzing the legislation to determine how much the company may incur in additional taxes. Taxes are considered operating expenses and are included in calculating rate changes, he said.

Officials from Sprint Corp., the dominant local telephone service operation in Las Vegas, and Nevada Power Co., the dominant local electricity provider, said they were studying the legislation.

Jeremy Aguero, principal of Applied Analysis and a member of the governor's task force, said small businesses will actually pay more now than with the tax package the task force had proposed.

"It's an $80 million loss (in gross receipts), but the modified tax generates more, so it's a net gain," he said. "Does it have what the governor's task force had? No, absolutely not."

Kevin Higgins, president of the Southern Nevada chapter of National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, said he was glad that the governor listened to his group's presentation of alternative tax proposals.

"The increases across the board are going to affect everyone," Higgins said, "but there won't be a heavy burden on any one industry. By and large, I think we and other groups were pretty successful in defeating that (gross receipts)."

The plan also increases taxes for cigarettes (45 cents per pack) and liquor (75 percent).

See also

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