By SANDRA CHEREB
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) â¿¿ Democrats in the Nevada Legislature, who have pledged a top-to-bottom review and possible overhaul of Nevada's tax structure, proposed a variety of tax incentives Tuesday that they say will create jobs and aid an economy still trying to gain momentum following the Great Recession.
Democrats insist that the two discussions â¿¿ tax breaks on the one hand and an overhaul on the other â¿¿ are not exclusive of each other and can be held in concert.
"It's a big picture," Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said at a news conference with other Senate Democratic leaders.
"We've seen from the recent downturn in our economy that we cannot simply expect one or two industries to sustain the majority of our jobs base," said Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas. "The bills we've introduced provide immediate remedies to our unemployment rate while implementing a long term vision for a diverse economy."
Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy director Nevada Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank, called the Democrat's plan a "retread of stale and failed government programs."
"None of the items introduced by Senate Democrats addresses the core factor that hinders economic growth â¿¿ the obstacles that Nevada government places in the way of private entrepreneurship," Lawrence said in a statement.
Proposals outlined include a bill co-sponsored by freshman Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman Paul Aizley, D-Las Vegas, to provide tax breaks to the film industry to lure motion picture and television productions. It's an idea Steve Hill, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, earlier said was not a priority because most states these day offer incentives to the film industry, a factor that often leads to bidding wars and little return on investment.
Lawrence agreed and cited the opinion of the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group, that said such credits fail to live up to their promises.