Henderson Chamber supports SB161, AB208

Chamber’s Legislative Committee also watching several other bills

HENDERSON, Nev. – The Henderson Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee is supporting Senate Bill 161 and Assembly Bill 208. It has also released an initial list of bills and BDRs (bill draft requests) it will be monitoring, the support of which committee members will decide on in the coming weeks.

Introduced to the senate on Feb. 18 by Sens. Michael Roberson, Ben Kieckhefer and Joe Hardy, SB161 revises various provisions relating to constructional defects.

“SB161 makes significant changes to current construction defect laws by separating attorney fees from damages, revising the definition of construction defects for lawsuits, and shortening statutes of limitations,” said Stan Olsen, HCC Legislative Committee chairperson. “The committee feels that these would all be positive changes to the current construction defect law.”

AB208 was introduced in the Assembly March 7 by Reps. Harvey J. Munford, James Healey, Jason Frierson and Maggie Carlton. It prohibits the Department of Taxation from applying sales taxes to the provision of meals by employers to their employees.

“In reviewing this bill, the Henderson Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee concluded that AB208 as drafted is beneficial to both employees and employers,” Olsen said. “We agree that the Supreme Court was correct that use taxes should not apply to complementary meals served to employees. Furthermore, it would be hurtful to businesses and their employees to impose a sales tax on these meals.”

Additionally this legislative session, the Henderson Chamber opposed the business tax proposal backed by the Nevada State Education Association and other labor groups. The Nevada Supreme Court recently overturned a lower court decision and upheld the business tax proposal, giving the 2013 Nevada Legislature a chance to act on it. The Assembly Taxation Committee, then, had until Thursday, March 14, to act on the initiative petition. Because nothing was scheduled, the proposal was automatically referred to the 2014 November general election ballot.

HCC joined with pro-business group the Committee to Save Nevada’s Jobs to challenge the initiative because it did not clearly state that the measure would guarantee more money for students’ educations rather than teacher and administration salaries. If passed, the proposal seeks to impose a 2 percent “margins” tax on businesses grossing more than $1 million annually.

“The Henderson Chamber strongly supports education in Nevada; having an educated workforce is critical to Southern Nevada’s ability to attract and retain businesses. However, this bill doesn’t explicitly say that the money raised will go directly toward supporting children’s education,” Olsen said. “Because it doesn’t specify the money would be used on students, the bill poses a risk of being used for other purposes not in line with taxpayer expectations.”

The committee is also following several other bills on behalf of its members, including SB2, SB60, SB87, SB95, SB96, SB111 and SB160, as well as SJR2 and AB139.

The chamber recognizes the importance of advocacy on behalf of its members. With this benefit of membership in mind, the chamber created the Legislative Committee to review legislative issues as they pertain to its members. Terry Graves is the chamber’s full-time lobbyist, representing its members in Carson City.

Consisting of community and business leaders who meet weekly, the committee is dedicated to influence and change public policy based on what is in the best interest of Southern Nevada’s business community. To assist with this, chamber members are polled at the beginning of each session to determine what is important to the Southern Nevada business community. This year’s results of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Legislative Survey revealed economic development and redevelopment, taxes and education were at the top of the business community’s issues of concern.

The Henderson Chamber of Commerce is known locally, statewide and nationally for its strong legislative presence. A bi-partisan nonprofit organization, the Henderson Chamber of Commerce has held strong relationships with Nevada’s political leaders on both sides of the aisle for many years and endorses candidates who reflect a history and political agenda in support of small- to medium-sized businesses, which comprise most of the chamber’s membership. Similarly, it chooses the issues it supports based on the evolving needs of its membership.

The Henderson Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit, voluntary organization committed to promoting and supporting member businesses.

For more information regarding the breakfast, call the Henderson Chamber of Commerce at 702-565-8951 or visit http://www.hendersonchamber.com.