(Steve Sebelius/Slash Politics) – State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio today said he doesn’t think the state should pay Moody’s Analytics at all, in light of the revelation the company will not fulfill a portion of its contract to study Nevada’s tax system.
“I am extremely disappointed and angry,” said Raggio. The Reno Republican pushed for a tax study during the 2009 Legislature so lawmakers would have independent information from a respected source to use in crafting legislative policy during the 2011 session, which starts in February.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford said Thursday that Moody’s completed part of its work — the Nevada Vision Stakeholders Group inquiry into quality of life and goal-setting for the state — but not the other part, the tax study. The company failed to even return telephone calls for weeks before the state sent a notice of default, which prompted officials to negotiate a compromise: The company would provide the Vision Stakeholders Group report, but not the tax study, and be paid less than $100,000 on a contract that was supposed to be worth $253,000.
But Raggio doesn’t even like that. “I am not supportive of even paying them for this so-called amended contract,” he said, saying the report would have “little value” without recommendations to pay for it. But Raggio acknowledged that since Horsford and Legislative Counsel Bureau leaders seem to agree, “It sounds like a done deal.”
The last in-depth study of Nevada’s tax structure was done in 2002, and it recommended a gross receipts tax on business, an idea that was rejected in the 2003 Legislature. Raggio said he was counting on the Moody’s report for up-to-date and independent information.
“We’re going to be operating with no other information other than what we can find on our own,” he said. “Anybody who doesn’t understand that the next session is going to be the most difficult we’ve ever had just doesn’t [want to] understand.”
That’s especially true for new lawmakers, elected as term limits have forced veterans from their seats. The next budget is projected to have a deficit of $3 billion, nearly half the size of the general fund.