With faster-than-expected recovery, Nevada projected to have $586 million more to spend in next two years

A tree in front and the Nevada Legislature building behind it

Driven by a better-than-expected rollout of the COVID vaccine, a flood of federal stimulus dollars and pent-up demand to spend and travel, revenues flowing to Nevada’s general fund are projected to be more than $910 million more than what forecasters had predicted back in December.

The revised forecast is a marked improvement from the Economic Forum’s last revenue forecast from December, when the five-member panel of appointed economists and analysts projected general fund revenues of $8.5 billion over the next two years — down about half a billion dollars from the prior budget cycle. This time, the Forum projected $4.4 billion in the fiscal year that starts in July, and $4.7 billion for the following fiscal year, for a total of $9.1 billion in the next biennium — a $586 million upward revision.

The forum also projected higher-than-expected revenues in the current fiscal year, upgrading that forecast by $324 million. In all, the state expects about $910 million more for the general fund over the three fiscal years than was projected just five months earlier.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and state lawmakers built the state’s proposed two-year budget off that December projection (including about a 2 percent cut to the budget approved in 2019), meaning that the good economic news Tuesday will provide legislators with the flexibility to not only restore cuts, but to budget for additional priority projects over the final month of session.

“This is night and day different from December,” Moody’s Analytics analyst Daniel White said during the meeting. “No one thought there was any possibility of having that much vaccine manufactured by the end of the year. So that was the first miracle that kind of gets us where we are today.”

White said a smoother than expected rollout of the vaccine also helped, as did Democrats seizing control of the U.S. Senate in January. With a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was able to advance, and massive proposed investments in infrastructure and social programs have a path forward that was far less certain the last time the Forum met.

“It's no longer an aid package,” White said of the federal spending. “We're moving into trying to change the long run structural makeup of the economy going forward. And that has major long-term fiscal implications.”

The Forum approved the revised tax revenue projections after deciding between predictions submitted by state fiscal analysts, the governor's budget office and Moody’s Analytics. Established in 1993, the Forum meets regularly to review forecasts of the state’s seven major tax sources: sales and use tax, percentage fee tax on gaming revenues, insurance premium tax, modified business tax, cigarette tax, live entertainment tax and real property transfer tax.

Under state law, the Forum’s tax revenue projection out of the May meeting in odd-numbered years is what state lawmakers must use to craft the budget. Lawmakers are constitutionally required to balance the state budget — spending no more than incoming tax revenue.

Sisolak said he would work with the Legislature for the rest of the session “as we embark on the largest economic recovery effort in the State’s history."

"We must always remember the struggles we faced during the last year, and vow to use this opportunity to ensure we are never in that vulnerable position again," he said in a statement. "That means making strategic decisions through the lens of responsible fiscal management focused on transforming our State for future generations and developing a solid economic foundation that leaves no Nevadan behind.” 

Assembly Republican Leader Robin Titus responded to the news by saying the Legislature needed to "immediately review the Governor’s budget cuts and restore funding to critical areas in education, healthcare, and infrastructure."

“Additionally, we need to encourage consumer confidence and help businesses get back to where they were prior to the pandemic," she said in a statement.

Here’s a look at highlights of the state’s major revenue sources. 

Sales and use tax

Members of the Forum projected that the state would collect more than $2.7 billion over the next two fiscal years from the state’s 2 percent share of the sales and use tax, the general fund’s single largest revenue source. The forecasts represent about a 5 percent increase in sales tax collections for both fiscal years in the budget.

The Forum also opted to move forward with a projected forecast of $1.2 billion in sales tax collections for the current fiscal year, reflecting increased confidence that almost all sectors of the state economy will continue to recover over the last months of the remaining fiscal year, which runs through the end of June.

The U.S. clocked the highest rates of real disposable income on record last month, but with COVID restrictions, consumers have been less able to spend it on services and travel and have turned more to spending on durable goods. That could soon change.

“The pace of growth in consumer spending, especially over the first eight to 10 quarters of this recovery, is going to look very, very strong,” White said. “When business restrictions go away and travel restrictions go away, a lot of that is going to spill forth in terms of pent up demand in the rest of the economy and that plays very well for a tourism-dependent area like Nevada.” 

Approved forecasts for the upcoming biennium were still cautious — the 2022 fiscal year forecast was on the low end of options presented to the Forum, and the 2023 adopted forecast was roughly in the middle. Forum members and tax projectors said the revenue forecasts reflected expectations that the state’s gradual return of the leisure and hospitality business will drive economic growth, but could also run into headwinds including commodity shortages or inflation. 

“I expect the state to be pretty much open then and a lot of pent up demand, goods, services, tourism, all that good stuff, I'm hoping will come out of (Fiscal Year 2022), and then tempered but still strong growth in 2023,” said Nevada Department of Taxation Economist Hayley Owens.

Gaming percentage fee tax

Gaming is expected to bring the general fund $1.5 billion in the next two fiscal years, a slightly rosier projection than the $1.4 billion the Forum predicted in December.

Casinos saw their winnings at the highest levels in eight years this March, with slot win figures blowing past what would otherwise be expected under capacity limits.

“Stimulus checks have had a direct impact on the Nevada gaming activity,” said Susanna Powers of the Governor’s Finance Office. “Yet the rebound in activity is slower than what we experienced in the pre-pandemic years because I believe the business travel and convention business will not come back as quickly as the leisure travel will.”

Modified Business Tax

Economists predict that Nevada will bring in $1.6 billion in the coming biennium from the Modified Business Tax (MBT) assessed on payroll. That’s up from the $1.5 billion the Forum forecast in December.

Owens said that more than any other tax source, she has revised her MBT projections up from December.

“Definitely a much brighter picture,” she said. 

There are different MBT rates assessed on different types of businesses, including financial institutions, mining companies and others. Economists projected substantial growth in financial services payrolls as the industry is buzzing with Paycheck Protection Program lending and a refinancing boom.

Mining payrolls, on the other hand, are holding steady in spite of the relatively high price of gold. Powers chalked that up to efficiencies realized when major gold companies merged (Barrick and Newmont announced they were becoming a joint venture in 2019).

Still, the pandemic may have a lasting effect on hospitality, Nevada’s hardest-hit industry. David Schmidt, an economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said that many hotel casino jobs lost in recent recessions haven’t come back — a contrast to sectors such as food service that have seen much more steady upward trends.

“This is a very mature industry and not one where we're expecting to see a lot of growth and expecting to see some potentially permanent job displacement,” he said about hotel casinos.

Schmidt, who said he’s pessimistic that unemployment benefits will be extended beyond the current expiration date in September, said DETR is focused on getting people into jobs or retrained before then to avoid leaving workers in a lurch.

Insurance premium tax

Forum members project the tax on insurance premiums will yield about $1 billion over the upcoming biennium — a slight upgrade from what they predicted in December.

Revenue from the tax dropped during the early months of the pandemic, as many insurers gave clients rebates because they were driving less. In general, though, the tax source is far more stable than others more closely tied to tourism.

“It hasn't been as sensitive or reactionary to the current business cycle,” Owens said. 

Real property transfer tax

One revenue stream expected to crest and cool off during the upcoming biennium is the real property transfer tax — a $1.95 surcharge for every $500 of property value applied on home sales.

Members of the Forum accepted forecasts of $126 million in the 2022 fiscal year, but $123 million in the next fiscal year — predicting a gradual slowing of the state’s continued red-hot housing market.

Tax projectors said performance of the revenue stream is greatly affected by well-documented issues of housing affordability — saying that home prices affect tax collections, but changes in the volume of home sales and property transactions also have a significant effect on tax performance.

Analysts pointed to a variety of factors that could affect property tax performance over the next two years — eventual lifting of the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, continued migration of Californians able and willing to pay cash for homes, potential labor shortages and the homebuilding industry struggling to keep up with demand, plus the potential of rising market rates making it more difficult for first-time home buyers to enter the market.

“This tax is extremely complex,” Powers said. “So it says what we think will happen, but they can always look in retrospect and say well it didn't happen.”

Several Forum members expressed some skepticism that amid predictions of economic growth and increased revenue collection for nearly all other tax streams, the state’s housing market would chart a different course. Members of the Forum ultimately decided to go with the legislative fiscal division’s recommendation, the highest of the three forecast options, which still predicts a 2.6 percent dip in tax collections in the 2023 fiscal year.

“Nothing very good lasts forever, which, in my world, is housing,” said Forum member Jennifer Lewis, who works as an executive at a real estate management firm.

Commerce Tax

One of the state’s newer revenue sources, the Commerce Tax — a gross receipts tax on business revenue exceeding $4 million, with different rates based on industry — is expected to raise $470.8 million over the two years of the budget cycle.

Unlike other major revenue sources, Legislative Fiscal Analysis Division Analyst Russell Guindon said that all three forecasts — the Governor’s Finance Office, Department of Taxation, and legislative fiscal division — worked on a consensus for the Commerce Tax, which operates differently than most other tax sources, as it is collected at a different time and involves tax credits against other taxes.

The adopted forecast was about 10 percent higher than the initial December forecast adopted by the Forum.

Live Entertainment Tax

The forum is projecting just shy of $180 million from the Live Entertainment Tax (LET) in the coming two years. That’s slightly lower than the approximately $183 the forum forecasted for the revenue source in December.

“It's not just, ‘is there pent up demand to come back to Vegas?’ It’s, ‘will the shows even open, when will they be profitable, when does that convention player come back?’” said Forum Chairwoman Linda Rosenthal. “This one’s a bit tougher in terms of projecting.”

The live entertainment industry has been among the hardest-hit by the pandemic and related capacity restrictions. Ninety percent of the revenue from tax — which is applied as a 9 percent charge on ticket prices for large events, with exceptions such as professional home sports games — derives from venues on the Las Vegas Strip.

Clark County officials have increased capacity restrictions to 80 percent of capacity and plan to raise the cap to 100 percent once 60 percent of eligible adults in the county have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of April 29, that figure stood at about 47 percent.

Many large shows are unable to turn a profit with anything less than full capacity, which is delaying their return. They also need time to market their shows and sell tickets for events, and the same goes for large annual festivals such as the Electric Daisy Carnival.

Forecasters predict that LET revenues will rebound by the first and second quarters of calendar year 2022.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. on 5/4/21 to add statement from Robin Titus and at 6:14 p.m. to add a statement from Gov. Steve Sisolak.

As time ticks on current relief, Las Vegas judge blocks Sisolak's attempt to label evictions 'non-essential'

Members of the Clark County Commission are exploring their options to stave off evictions after a judge rejected a request from Gov. Steve Sisolak's office to label evictions as "non-essential" and halt the proceedings as part of broader, COVID-related closures of the Las Vegas Justice Court.

The state is anticipating a flood of evictions after the first of the year when the federal eviction moratorium and CARES Act — which has provided millions of dollars in rental assistance — expire.

The federal eviction moratorium from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention requires tenants to meet several qualifications as opposed to Sisolak's now-expired blanket moratorium on evictions, which Nevada Legal Aid Policy Director Bailey Bortolin has described as "one of the best ones in the country" because it was "comprehensive" and covered late fees. The federal protections have covered a more limited population in the courts than tenant advocates would like, leading to thousands of evictions in Nevada since the state moratorium expired. 

"Many landlords have just decided to try their luck, and see if they can convince you that you should leave, see if they can get a court to decide with them that the protections don't apply to you and grant the evictions," Bortolin said during a virtual forum with progressive advocacy group Battle Born Progress on Thursday.

Though Sisolak has stopped short of issuing another statewide eviction moratorium, his office has tried to halt evictions in Las Vegas through a letter to Suzan Baucum, chief justice of the Las Vegas Justice Court, expressing concerns about overcrowding at the Las Vegas Justice Court and labeling evictions as "non-essential" during the statewide pause.

"The overcrowding of people within the LVJC during this statewide pause is a public health issue, and the Governor urges you to direct that all in-person appearances (including evictions) be suspended during this statewide pause for the express purpose of helping to contain the spread of COVID-19," reads the letter from Sisolak senior adviser Scott Gilles.

Following Sisolak's latest round of mitigation measures as the coronavirus ravages the state, Baucum ordered several measures to be taken in the justice court to reduce social contact in the court, including postponing some hearings until the order expires on Jan. 4, but left "essential" cases, including eviction proceedings, to continue in-person or through alternatives ways "when possible."

In her response to the governor's office, first reported by the Nevada Current, Baucum wrote that Sisolak's latest mitigation measures did not specifically reference evictions and that the state's moratorium on evictions has expired, leaving no requirement for the court to suspend eviction hearings.

Although the CDC moratorium provides some protections for tenants, Baucum stated that it does not provide a "blanket prohibition on evictions." She also wrote that she's spoken to Justice Court judges who are continuing to hear eviction cases and that any restrictions on evictions should be made on a statewide basis rather than in just one or some of the 40 individual justice courts in the state.

"Unless Governor Sisolak imposes another moratorium relating to evictions or the other case types and hearings deemed 'essential,' I am not inclined to impose additional restrictions beyond those already imposed," Baucum’s letter reads. 

A spokeswoman for the governor did not respond to requests on Thursday and Friday for comment on any additional statewide moratorium.

Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones said during the Battle Born Progress forum that Baucum's decision to deem evictions as essential was "frustrating." Jones, who said he worked with the governor's office to have it intervene with the Las Vegas Justice Court, put Baucum's decision in context with Sisolak's continuing pleas for Nevadans to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.

"It's really hard to stay home if you don't have a home. If you're kicked out of your home, you can't stay home," he said.

Jones said he's been working with the district attorney and fellow commissioners Tick Segerblom and Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick to see what options are possible to stop evictions, including the possibility of using the commission's emergency powers. 

But for some, relief has been secured at least through January 2021. 

On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it would extend its foreclosure moratorium for those with mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the end of January after previously extending the aid through the end of the year. Although the extension won't help all renters, Jones said the relief will help prevent foreclosures and their corresponding evictions for tens of thousands of homeowners in Clark County.

Jones encouraged renters in need of relief to apply for aid before the year ends. Clark County has secured around $100 million in rental assistance and has already distributed $56 million of it, leaving $44 million left to spend before the end of the year, according to Jones. 

Washoe County has set aside about $6.6 million for rental assistance, including funds from the City of Reno and Sparks, with $1.4 million left to spend, according to the most recent numbers.

State leaders have raised questions not only about how the economy and uncertainty of further aid will affect tenants who risk losing their homes, but landlords and the housing market overall. Members of the Economic Forum discussed the matter this week as they forecasted state revenue.

“At some point, banks are going to want to get their money back out of those houses that have mortgages on this,” said forum member Jennifer Lewis. “And that seems sort of inevitable so that's going to create some churn.”

Susanna Powers of the Governor’s Finance Office, however, said conditions were better than what they were when the Great Recession spurred widespread foreclosures in Nevada. This time, it’s likelier that distressed homeowners have equity in their property and can sell into a favorable market instead of foreclosing. 

Reno Councilwoman Naomi Duerr emphasized the importance of supporting landlords as well as tenants and said she’s seen cooperation from most Reno landlords during the pandemic.

"They want to keep people in, they want to work with people, and they are willing to accept the vouchers and accept the rental systems," she said.

In the South, Jones said the county has been working directly with landlords to streamline the process of rental assistance to benefit both tenants and landlords.

"It's just a single page form that they can have their own tenant fill out, so we can get those dollars out the door as quickly as possible and into the hands of both landlords and tenants," he said.

Jones encouraged Nevadans to reach out to their representatives and emphasize the importance of securing more aid.

"Every day that goes by is a day that someone's gonna get kicked out of their home. It's a day that somebody goes hungry," he said. "It's a day that a small business owner is, unfortunately, has to close the doors and fire all the employees who are then going to face the same type of issues that everyone else is facing."

Beyond the pandemic, lawmakers and advocates are looking for long-term solutions to evictions in the state.

"We have one of the most landlord-friendly eviction laws in the entire country," Jones said, noting that as a landlord himself, he understands their struggles. "We need to make sure that it's a fair process that a landlord can't just throw up a notice and kick somebody out a few days later." 

Michelle Rindels contributed to this story.

Economic Forum: Sisolak, lawmakers will have $8.8 billion to craft state budget

Governor-elect Steve Sisolak and Nevada lawmakers will have a little more than $8.8 billion in projected tax revenues to work with as they craft a budget for the state’s next two years, an increase of $591 million over Nevada’s current budget.

The $8,834,900,000 revenue figure comes courtesy of the state’s Economic Forum, which projected on Monday a 7.2 percent increase in state tax revenue over the next two years and also assumed an economic slowdown — but not a full-blown recession — sometime before 2021. The forum consists of a five-member panel of economists appointed by the governor and legislative leaders charged with forecasting revenue for the state’s two-year budget cycles.

The group met to weigh and approve initial projections of billions of dollars in tax revenues for the state, ranging from payroll taxes to gaming percentage fees, by using projections submitted by the state fiscal analysts, the governor's budget office and Moody’s Analytics.

Though a final tax revenue projection will be approved in May, the forum’s decision Monday gives the first clear picture of how much leeway the Democrat-controlled Legislature and Sisolak will have to pursue their priorities and campaign-trail promises. Outgoing Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed two-year budget outlined last week came in at $8.8 billion, with more spending allocated to school safety, Medicaid and K-12 education.

“I am encouraged by how the state is performing," Sisolak said in a statement. "I look forward to reviewing the final forecast released by the Economic Forum and creating a roadmap to implement the priorities that matter to Nevadans. I am committed to building a bright future for our state and that starts with building a budget that funds the initiatives that will get us there.”

As they did in their November meeting, much of the forum members’ discussion centered around how to best prepare for a likely economic slowdown or recession predicted to strike at some point in the next two years.

State fiscal analyst Russell Guindon said he and other state economists disagreed with a forecast by Moody’s Analytics predicting that Nevada would suffer worse than the national average in an economic downturn, saying various economic indicators including construction employment appears more “normal” than it did during the state’s boom prior to the 2008 recession.

“People say we haven't recovered the construction that we lost. I, as an economist, would start to get concerned if we were back to where we were in construction employment — now we are setting ourselves up for that fall,” he said. “It just seems like things are maybe a little more normal now in Nevada as we’ve come out of this recovery, then what we saw prior to the Great Recession.”

Nevada’s recent economic development efforts have focused on diversifying the economy beyond gaming and hospitality, which is dependent on discretionary income and thus vulnerable to national economic swings. Economists suggested the state has made meaningful progress on that goal, and that Nevada isn’t necessarily falling into the unsustainable pattern of construction workers building homes to house more construction workers.

“I think our economy is a little different now than it was before the Great Recession because of our mix,” Guindon said.

Despite the gains in other sectors, much of the state’s workforce is still employed in service or retail jobs that could be particularly vulnerable to a recession — leading Moody’s Analytics to predict Nevada unemployment in a future recession to outpace the national average. Susanna Powers, an economist with the Governor’s Finance Office, predicted a slowdown in growth over the next two and a half fiscal years as opposed to a recession per se, though.

“The camp I fall in is we will see continued growth, It will be softer, maybe slower, as we see our current economic expansion to mature,” she said.

Here’s a look at what the major tax sources are expected to bring in over the next two years:

Sales and use tax

The forum is estimating that the state’s sales and use taxes will generate $2.6 billion over the biennium, a 10.8 percent increase over the last budget cycle. Sales tax is the largest single source for Nevada’s general fund, accounting for about one-third of its revenues.

That includes a 5.2 percent increase in the 2020 fiscal year and a more modest 4 percent increase in the 2021 fiscal year meant to account for a projected economic slowdown.

While both taxes are assessed on the sales of goods and services, sales taxes are levied on retailers when selling while use taxes are imposed on items purchased. The goal of use tax is to capture taxes on items and services purchased out of state.

Forum member Marvin Leavitt agreed with forecasters that a series of new projects — including the new Raiders stadium, the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the new Resorts World casino — will buoy sales and use tax over the next two years, but expressed uncertainty whether that growth would continue into the end of the biennium. He also noted that the forum historically tends to overestimate sales and use tax.

“It looks like to me that we've got enough big construction projects in the works that almost the next two years at least guarantees we'll have a certain level of sales tax,” Leavitt said. “We don't have a guarantee on the construction into that third year, plus the effect of a slowdown in the economy.”

Gaming percentage fee tax

The forum projects the state will collect $1.6 billion from gaming taxes in the upcoming biennium, a 3.2 percent increase over the prior two-year cycle. Gaming taxes account for about 18 percent of general fund revenues.

The total percentage fee collections include taxable gaming revenues — calculated from the total gaming win and adjusted for credit issued and collected — and an estimated fee adjustment, a monthly tax liability reconciliation.

Leavitt, one of the forum members, expressed uncertainty that gaming revenue would significantly increase until the new Resorts World casino opens in early 2021. But he agreed with fiscal staff that the casino’s opening may not immediately translate to an increase in taxes collected because the casino may see a significant amount of credit play when it first opens.

“I'm under the assumption that we're going to see this 1, 2 percent growth for the biennium, other than the last six months,” Leavitt said. “But [fiscal staff] pointed out something that is true, when these large properties open up, you have the credit play and it could take three to four months to collect it. Well, again, you might have the increase in the gaming win but not in the actual percentage fees.”

Guindon, the fiscal analyst, noted that the economic slowdown also could result in a slowdown in visitors toward the end of the biennium, and a corresponding reduction in gaming taxes collected. His projections, which were the most conservative of the four gaming revenue forecasts over the biennium, were ultimately accepted by the forum.

Insurance premium tax

The forum projects Nevada will collect $950 million in taxes on insurance premiums over the next two years — a 10.7 percent increase.

Insurance premium taxes account for about 10 percent of Nevada general fund revenues.

Forum members characterized this tax as largely resilient to economic downturns. Fiscal analyst Michael Nakamoto pointed out that people will still have things to insure — homes, cars, businesses and their own lives — when recessions come.

He also pointed out that health-care costs continue to rise, buoying the tax collections.

Real property transfer tax

The forum expects the state will collect $227 million over the biennium from the real property transfer tax, which is levied based on the value of real estate that’s sold. The tax provides about 2 percent of general fund revenues.

Forum member Leavitt noted that this tax can be difficult to predict. Nevada’s housing market is experiencing a wide range of conflicting factors that can speed or slow homebuying.

Economists suggested that the current rate of home price increases is unsustainable. Wages are failing to keep pace with the rising values of homes in the state, and the two need to come into closer alignment.

“We’re starting to find that normalization,” said Powers, the economist with the Governor’s Finance Office. “What is normal for Nevada?”

There are also the first signs of land shortages in Southern Nevada, and the consideration that people are reluctant to buy homes when they think a recession is approaching.

Commerce Tax

State fiscal analysts said they’re still trying to perfect projections of the state’s Commerce Tax, created in the 2015 Legislature and applied on a business’s gross annual revenue over $4 million, with rates determined by business type.

Forum members approved a projection of $445 million in tax revenues — an 8 percent increase over the last budget cycle — over the two-year budget period, but observed that the forum has been off in past projections of Commerce Tax revenue and had no background into how the tax might perform were the economy to stop growing.

“This one is a tough one,” Leavitt said. “We’ve never been through a recession since this tax has been enacted. So you’re sort of flying a little bit (blind).”

Another influence on the tax is a reduction in another tax — drafters of the Commerce Tax legislation included a provision requiring an automatic reduction in payroll taxes, or “Modified Business Tax,” if the combined amounts of payroll tax, Commerce Tax and an excise tax on banks exceed Economic Forum projections by more than 4 percent.

That scenario happened in 2018, meaning payroll taxes will decrease by about $100 million over the next two-year budget cycle.

The Commerce Tax brings in about 5 percent of Nevada’s general fund revenue, but after factoring in tax credits that businesses can take against their modified business tax payments, it contributes closer to 2.5 percent.

Live entertainment tax

The forum predicts the live entertainment tax will draw nearly $258 million over the biennium, about a 2.2 percent increase over the current biennium.

The tax is a 9 percent admission charge on a live entertainment venue that seats more than 200 people, although there are major exceptions, such as for tickets to a professional sporting event in which a Nevada-based team is playing. It brings in about 3 percent of state general fund revenue.

State analysts say the combination of increasing popularity for sports team — notably the Las Vegas Golden Knights — and stable attendance at Strip residencies and shows means revenue from the tax is likely to stay flat in the next two years.

“The tax is moving sideways,” Gaming Control Board analyst Michael Lawton said last month. “And in the opinion of people I spoke with, there really isn’t anything on the horizon that’s going to materially drive this collection. There’s not a new show that we’re aware of, there’s not a new venue.”

Modified business tax

Forum members voted to accept a projected $1.37 billion from the state’s Modified Business Tax over the two-year budget period, an increase of about 1.5 percent from the last two-year budget cycle.

The tax itself is a 1.475 percent tax on wages, excluding the first $50,000 and health-care deductions, with different rates charged to financial institutions and mining industries.

It brings in about 16 percent of Nevada general fund revenue.