- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval says he’s disappointed with the state’s largest business organization after it supported a report critical of a proposed tax increase.

The popular Republican governor said in a statement that a critical report issued Thursday by the Tax Foundation was “utterly irresponsible” and “intellectually dishonest.” The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce has worked in the past with the Washington D.C.-based think tank to study different tax proposals.

“I believe the Chamber’s leaders have done their membership a terrible disservice and have harmed the credibility of an organization that purports to stand for education,” Sandoval said in a statement.

Chamber spokeswoman Cara Clarke issued a statement late Thursday night apologizing for the “tone and tenor” of the report but reiterating that the business consortium had no editorial control over statements made by the Tax Foundation.

The foundation’s report slammed Sandoval’s proposed tax, criticizing it as overly complex and arbitrary. The report said that a number of states with similar taxes based on gross receipts are repealing or removing the tax.

Foundation analyst Jared Walczak said the report wasn’t commissioned by the chamber and was done independently. “After all the time we’ve spent testifying in Nevada, we felt that further analysis was appropriate,” he said in an email.

The governor said the study “removed all doubt” about the chamber’s position on the governor’s proposal.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson said he agreed with the governor and sharply criticized both the report and chamber President Kristin McMillan. “The Chamber-directed ‘analysis’ is nothing more than a disingenuous hatchet-job,” he said reading from a prepared statement.

Clarke said the study was independent and didn’t reflect the business group’s position on the proposed tax.

“We have no editorial control over their reports,” she said. “We didn’t see this report until they sent it out this morning.”

Clarke said the chamber was reviewing the governor’s plan along with other tax proposals brought forward by Assembly Republicans and another by Senate Democrats. Clarke said the group is planning to endorse a tax plan in the coming weeks.

As part of his $7.3 billion budget request, Sandoval proposed implementing an increased business license fee that would raise around $437 million over two years.

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