(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – State lawmakers made the first step towards creating a “Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group” of residents to participate in a review of the state’s revenue structure today, declaring that the size of the panel will be no more than 19 individuals.
But the hard part is yet to come. A total of 72 names have been submitted to lawmakers so far to serve on the panel, and more are expected before nominations close Oct. 30.
Lawmakers charged with picking the members of the committee will meet again Nov. 16 in an effort to finalize the stakeholder group membership, which will represent areas of expertise from education and public safety to commerce and industry.
A list of nominees was released today, showing interest from a wide variety of individuals, from Frank Adams representing the Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs’ Association to Reno Mayor Bob Cashell to MGM Mirage executive Alan Feldman.
Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, suggested the group not include elected officials for fear the work of the panel would become politicized.
But Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said many potentially qualified candidates would be excluded if elected officials were not allowed to participate.
The panel decided to let each lawmaker submit a list of preferred names without mandating any exclusions.
Geoffrey Lawrence, a fiscal policy analyst with the Nevada Policy Research Institute, questioned the purpose of the stakeholder panel. A study of the state and local government tax structure with an eye toward reducing volatility and maximizing efficiency has merit, he said.
But the stakeholder group is proposed to be drawn from the five major areas of state spending, meaning any revenue study could be compromised, Lawrence said.
“The group’s recommendations will likely include new government spending proposals,” he said.
The panel should include representatives who support private sector involvement in the provision of public services. Any stakeholder group needs to consider truly innovative solutions and not just seek to burden Nevadans with higher taxes, Lawrence said.
The stakeholder group is expected to work closely with the contractor selected to perform the revenue study, which must be completed by July 1, 2010. Lawmakers have selected four proposals for further consideration but a final decision won’t come until next month. The budget for the study is $500,000 but some of the proposals have come in well below this amount including the favorite by Moody’s Analytics at a cost of $253,000.