Economic forum sees $5.65 billion revenue

Nevada's governor and Legislature will have a total of $5.65 billion in general-fund revenues to spend over the next two years.

That's the preliminary projection approved by the Economic Forum on Tuesday. That is $737.6 million more than the revenues projected for the current biennium.

The forum is an appointed group of private financial experts who set the official revenue projections the governor and lawmakers must use in developing the state budget. They will meet again Dec. 1 to refine projections for each of the state's major revenue sources into a final set of revenue estimates.

Members said they don't anticipate any major changes in the projections at the December meeting.

Tuesday's projections are for a 5.8 percent overall increase in general-fund revenues each year for a total of $2.75 billion in fiscal 2006 and $2.9 billion in fiscal 2007.

The total projected general-fund revenues for the biennium, according to the decisions made by the forum Tuesday, come to $5.65 billion.

Most of that increase is dependent on gaming and sales taxes which, together, account for about 75 percent of total general fund revenues. Sales-tax revenues are projected to bring in $1.81 billion over the two-year budget period and gaming a total of $1.55 billion. The biggest jump there is the 9 percent increase in total gaming taxes in the second year of the biennium as new and refurbished resorts open along the Las Vegas Strip.

The modified business tax is projected to grow by more than 6.5 percent each of the next two years, bringing in a total of $480 million. And the Real Estate Transfer Tax is projected to add $254.7 million to state coffers over the biennium. But cigarette tax revenues, members of the forum agreed, probably won't grow at all. They estimated the cigarette tax will bring in $117.6 million each of the next two years - the same as it is now projected to raise this fiscal year.

The casino entertainment tax is also expected to do well - growing 20 percent next year as several new and larger showrooms open in Southern Nevada and another 9.5 percent the following year. That should put about $238 million in the state treasury over the two year budget cycle. But the non-gaming portion of the entertainment tax was projected at just $18.5 million over the biennium - far less than lawmakers hoped it would generate when they passed it in 2003.

In addition, the forum projected the state will end up collecting $135.5 million more this fiscal year than originally projected. That money is theoretically available as "one shot" money to cover specific projects and needs this coming budget cycle.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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