2-Minute Preview: Property taxes, car seats for 8 year olds and airplane abatements

By Megan Messerly, Michelle Rindels and Riley Snyder

Welcome to Day 32 of the legislative session, where legislators will hear a bevy of bills from a proposed change to the state’s property tax formula to legislation that would require kids up to 8 years old to sit in car seats. The Nevada Independent reporters combed through committee hearing agendas and pulled out a sampling of noteworthy and interesting pieces of legislation up at the Legislature on Thursday.

Here’s what to keep your eye on today:

Property tax showdown

In an interview with The Nevada Independent in January, Republican Senate Leader Michael Roberson declared that anyone who spends time discussing changing the state’s property tax formula “is wasting the breath God gave them”, adding that the issue would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Nevertheless, the Assembly Taxation Committee will take up AB43 at 4 p.m., which would make changes to the state’s property tax formula, in a Thursday hearing. Counties and other local governments say that the state needs to change the formula to allow for property tax revenue to keep up with the demand for services created by community growth.

Though it’s not a property tax hike per se, passing the legislation would have the practical impact of raising the amount of property taxes that counties are able to collect by establishing a minimum on the property tax cap calculation.

(For a more detailed explanation, read The Nevada Independent’s overview of Nevada property taxes from January.)

The bill is likely to face the most significant opposition from Republicans, who typically oppose tax increases and are even more averse to anything even somewhat resembling one this session after many of them voted in favor a $1.1 billion tax increase in 2015.

Republican Assembly Leader Paul Anderson hasn’t been willing to draw the same line that Roberson has, calling the issue a “legitimate” one the Legislature should discuss. Still, he has said it’s the “wrong session” to be pushing a property tax increase.

Democratic leaders have been circumspect in their comments on the issue, taking a wait and see approach to how the conversations surrounding the bill unfold.

In January, Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford said in a statement that he expects “everyone will get the opportunity to make their case before any decisions are made on how to best proceed.”

Car seats until age 8

One Democratic senator wants to extend the age that children have to be strapped into car seats.

SB156, proposed by Democratic Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, would require children under the age of eight to have to sit in a car seat while driving unless they’re taller than 57 inches. Current law sets the restriction for children under six or weighing less than 60 pounds.

The bill would also generally prohibit children under the age of 13 to be seated in the front seat of a car unless the front passenger seat air bags are disabled and the child has a special medical condition, the other seats are filled with other children under the age of 13 or if the car doesn’t have back seats.

The legislation would also make violation of child seatbelt or car seat rules a primary offense, meaning a driver can be pulled over and given a citation even if there no other rules are broken. The bill is scheduled for a hearing at 8 a.m. in the Senate Transportation committee.

Airplane abatements

The state already offers partial property tax abatements to certain airplane-related businesses looking to locate or expand their businesses in the state through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

A bill, SB179, put forward by Democratic Sen. Mo Denis would extend those abatements to similar types of businesses that have operated in the state continuously for at least 10 years. The abatements apply to any businesses that own, operate, manufacture, service, maintain, test, repair, overhaul or assembly aircraft or any components of aircraft.

The Legislature authorized the initial economic incentives through AB161, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, in 2015, which brought Nevada in line with most other states in offering tax breaks or exemptions for aviation businesses. Some legislators were skeptical of the measure early on, worrying that the policy would give tax breaks to wealthy plane owners, but it ultimately passed 58-2.

The Senate Revenue and Economic Development Committee will hear the bill during its 3:30 p.m. hearing.