Nevada taxes might go to California road repair
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Nevada tax revenue could be used for road improvements in California under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Thursday after sometimes heated debate.
Needles Highway, known as Gamblers’ Highway in California, is the most direct road into Laughlin for many southern California tourists and their gambling dollars, state senators argued.
Sen. Jon Porter, R-Las Vegas, introduced SB363, to improve what he referred as a ”treacherous” 28-mile, two-lane road.
Nevada risks losing casino business to Indian casinos in Arizona and California, which Porter said has better roads leading to them.
The measure was not expected to draw much attention. However, Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, lit a fuse when he accused those supporting the bill as being puppets of the gambling industry.
”We’re asked to come here and build roads for California when we don’t have money for school kids,” Neal said.
”How come gaming can’t build this road,” he asked?
Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, reminded lawmakers that Nevada is facing at least a $150 million revenue shortage this year.
”If the state was flush and economic times were bright, I, too, would probably vote for this bill,” she said, adding that the Clark County school district is proposing that students pay fees for their books along with asking them to ”pay to play” for extra curricular activities.
”I believe this bill is asking Nevada to pay so that California gamblers can play.”
Sen. Bill O’Donnell, R-Las Vegas, said that under SB363, schools will get more tax revenue from the state.
”If you understand the tax structure in this state, then you know this bill is not for gaming, but that it is for our kids,” he said. ”If gaming doesn’t do well, our state doesn’t do well.”
”This road is like unclogging the heart of the economic engine of our state.”
Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said roads are a regional issue and that the California Department of Transportation has spent millions helping Nevada with repairs on such roads as U.S. 95 and Interstate 80.
”I support this bill not because I’m a puppet of gaming, or because I don’t care about my constituents,” Amodei said angrily to Neal. ”But because it’s an appropriate enabling device for local government.”
The bill next goes to the Assembly for consideration.
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