Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, who was recently demoted as the majority leader and tax committee chairwoman of the Nevada Assembly, told a Republican gathering in Reno Tuesday that she almost has enough votes to kill Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposed tax plan.


Sandoval, also a Republican, proposed $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes during his State of the State speech last week to help fund his proposed $7.3 billion state general-fund ballot.


Yet Fiore, who has signed a pledge to oppose all new taxes, said she is only three commitments short of having enough votes to kill the plan in the lower house of the Nevada Legislature.


Fiore told a packed house of more than 100 people at the meeting of the Republican Men's Club of Northern Nevada that the battle over the tax increase is just beginning. The 2015 regular session of the Legislature begins Feb. 2. Fiore also told the crowd that she predicts the tax battle could extend the 2015 Legislature beyond its 120-day limit of a regular session.


"And understand, this is not over," Fiore said of the debate over funding the state budget.


Any tax proposal, "is going to take 28 Assembly members to vote yes on raising your taxes. And I can stand before you here today and say there are 12 Assembly members (who opposes the taxes). And we are working on three more and we will be pressing the 'no' button when it comes to raising your taxes."


She added, "I'm telling you right now, the session will not be ending in June. We will have a special session."


Nevada law requires a two-thirds vote of approval in both houses of the Legislature for any new taxes. The Legislature also must balance the state budget before it adjourns.


Sandoval's budget is predicated on the tax increase that includes a new business license fee that could generate nearly $440 million and making a series of "sunset taxes" worth about $580 million permanent. He also proposed increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 80 cents to $1.20. The cigarette tax could raise about $80 million.


State Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, also told the crowd he is opposed to Gov. Sandoval's tax plan.


"I don't believe we can stop taxes on the Senate side but there is a good possibility they can on the Assembly side," Gustavson said.


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When asked about the 15 votes needed to kill the tax plan after Tuesday's meeting, Fiore quipped, "I'm thinking more like 20. I'm just being conservative by saying 15."


Fiore was demoted as tax committee chair and majority leader by Speaker-designate John Hambrick, who did not like her explanations of her federal tax troubles, which reportedly included $1 million in tax liens over the past decade.


Assembly Whip Jim Wheeler, R-Minden, said he has spoken to about 20 members of the Assembly who oppose Sandoval's tax plan.


"The fact is, what I have seen so far is that there are 20 people I have talked to are pretty much against it," Wheeler said. "So we're going to have to have some discussions with the governor … maybe there's something we don't know."


Gov. Sandoval's office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.


Fiore said she has received many calls from citizens lamenting Sandoval's tax proposal and is ready to lead the fight against the plan.


"This business license (fee) is basically a gross receipts tax, period," she said. "This business license tax will reflect on the gross income of a business and that is not OK."


Other Republicans agreed, saying they are wary that Sandoval's proposal for a graduated business license fee is really a "gross receipts tax."


Gross-receipts tax ideas have been strongly opposed by many in Nevada's business community since the tax debate of the 2003 session, which lasted well beyond the 120-day regular session, ending in July.


"You bet it is (a gross receipts tax)," Assemblyman John Ellison said. "Call it what you want. But if a duck walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is a duck. That's my feeling."


Sandoval's business license fee proposal also looks like the gross receipts tax, said a representative of The Chamber of Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada.


"From everything we have been told, the way we understand it, it is a gross receipts tax," said Tray Abney, the Chamber's director of government relations. "But I can tell you we have not been briefed. We have not seen the details."


Ellison said he hoped some kind of compromise could be worked out between the governor's office and those in the Assembly GOP caucus.


"I'm pretty convinced that if there is not some kind of 'go in and compromise,' it will be defeated. I'm hoping we can sit down."


One woman who attended the GOP meeting, asked Fiore, "When did our governor turn into a Democrat?"