Nevada commissioners decide on $70 million tax refund

Chris Rizo Nov. 28, 2008, 2:46pm

Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)-The Nevada Tax Commission on Monday is expected to decide whether to grant a $70 million tax refund to Southern California Edison Co.

Rosemead, Calif.-based Edison says it is entitled to a tax exemption for coal it imported from out-of-state for operations at its Mohave power plant near Laughlin, Nev.

The Tax Commission granted the refund for some use taxes the utility paid between March 1998 and December 2000 at a May 2005 meeting. The state attorney general's office sued because the matter was decided at a closed-door meeting.

Carson City District Court Judge Michael Griffin in 2006 sided with the Tax Commission, ruling that the confidentiality law governing proprietary information was an exemption to the state's open meeting law.

The state Supreme Court in April sided with Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto's office, and nullified the $40 million refund, which has been earning 6 percent interest since the legal dispute began.

Justice Jim Hardesty wrote the high court's majority opinion.

"When considering Edison's appeal, the Tax Commission deliberated entirely in closed session and voted in closed session. Therefore, its action granting Edison's refund was taken in violation of the Open Meeting Law," Hardesty wrote.

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