Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Surprise Skunk

Ever since the Nevada Legislature adjourned sine die, all eyes have turned to Governor Brian Sandoval to see what he finally signs into law... And what he vetoes to prevent from becoming law. And while SB 221 (the background checks gun safety bill) has been getting the lion's share of attention, another bill may be landing into trouble with Governor Sandoval.

So what happened? Governor Sandoval's office claims the delay is over a "hidden expense". Really? It costs too much to collect tax revenue?

Sandoval has said the Nevada Department of Taxation has told him that administering the tax on the medical marijuana dispensaries, which will face the sales tax plus a 2 percent excise levy, will cost $2 million. [...]

The bill had fiscal notes attached by multiple state agencies, such as the Health Division and the Investigations Division, but nothing from the Taxation Department.

“The agency is supposed to report to the Legislature,” Segerblom said. “We had no chance to question them.” [....]

Segerblom is baffled: “I don’t want to criticize the Department of Taxation. There’s some misunderstanding going on.”

What's especially baffling about this latest SB 374 controversy is that it doesn't seem to make any sense. In Coolican's Sun column, Senator Segerblom noted that SB 374 will likely raise $1.75 million right off the bat in dispensary license fees. Right there, most of the $2 million is paid for. And that's before other medical marijuana taxes are brought into the equation!

And why is this coming up now? Why didn't the Department of Taxation raise this matter when the Legislature was in session? Why did it wait until after the Legislature adjourned to drop this (supposed) $2 million bomb?

Something smells skunky here. Where did this estimated $2 million cost come from? Why is it now dropping? And how strange is it that this is coming up just as SB 374 waits at Governor Sandoval's desk?

It would be incredibly tragic if Governor Sandoval uses this as an excuse to veto SB 374. And it would be incredibly stupid. The State of Nevada faces a law suit over law enforcement harassment of medical marijuana patients if SB 374 doesn't become law. And of course, those patients will still suffer intense hurdles to access the medicine they need if Governor Sandoval vetoes SB 374.

So what will it be? Will Governor Sandoval follow the time (dis)honored Nevada tradition of being penny wise and pound foolish? Or will he finally allow the state to do the right thing for the right reasons?

No comments:

Post a Comment