The Senate Taxation Committee met for about six hours today to take up several bills.
I was there to testify against SB 368, which, originally, was intended to implement a weight-distance tax on Nevada’s trucking industry.
Chairman Bob Coffin, who introduced the bill, offered an amendment at the beginning of the hearing that gutted the bill and instead would impose a diesel tax increase of 12 cents per gallon and would institute a study of the weight-distance tax.
While the amended version is much better than the original bill that is linked above, the Chamber still opposes any single-industry taxes. Especially a tax that will make everything that we buy more expensive, including groceries.
90% of all of the goods that we consume in Nevada arrive in a truck. Any tax increase on moving those goods will be passed down and be included in the final purchase price of that good.
Lance Gilman is building the largest industrial park in the world, the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, in Storey County. That project could allow for Northern Nevada to become a warehouse, logistics, and transportation hub. We must be careful about doing anything that will make it more expensive to ship things in and out of here.
Most of the hearing centered on various studies that NDOT had undertaken over the last few decades that claim that trucks do not pay their fair share of road costs. The Nevada Motor Transport Association, however, hired two university professors who produced their own study that refuted NDOT.
Due to the late hour, I was forced to be brief in my testimony. I pointed out that the Chamber supports broad, user-based funding for roads, but that we oppose singling out any industry for taxation.
I then referred to our strong support for SB 201, the implementing bill of the RTC-5 ballot question. That would index gas taxes for ALL users of the roads, passenger cars and trucks. The voters were also given a specific list of projects that would be funded with the new revenue.
The Chamber welcomes a conversation on potential solutions for a statewide funding plan, but we believe that all highway users should shoulder the burden.
The Committee voted to “indefinitely postpone” the bill, as everyone is waiting for a final tax package at the end of the session.