Nevada Legislature Breaking the Law...?
|Is the Nevada Legislature trying to skirt the Nevada Constitution and ultimately breaking the law?
YOU BE THE JUDGE.
In 2007, the Washoe County legislative delegation proposed Senate Bill 141. The bill would have raised property taxes on both business and residential properties to raise additional revenue for Washoe County School District’s building and maintenance fund. Senate Bill 141 FAILED in the Senate by a vote of 8 yeas to 13 nays; the bill failed to reach the constitutionally-required 2/3 majority in order to pass.
In Nevada, local governments must receive either approval from the Legislature or from the voters via a ballot question before they are permitted to increase property or sales taxes. A perfectly good example of this process was recently demonstrated by the Washoe Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). In 2008, the residents of Washoe County were asked the following ballot advisory question:
Shall the Washoe county Board of Commissioners seek state legislation for the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to obtain necessary additional funding for transportation projects that will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and repair and maintain roads in the Truckee Meadows?
This question received an affirmative vote from THE PEOPLE and in 2009 Senate Bill 201 was shepherded through the Nevada Legislature, requesting enabling legislation that would increase fuel taxes for this purpose. Once approved by the State Legislature then the Washoe County Commission voted to increase the taxes.
The Nevada Legislature is currently considering Assembly Bill 46 (similar to Senate Bill 141 in the 2007 session) on behalf of the Washoe County School District (WCSD). The purpose of the legislation is to raise property and sales taxes on Washoe County residents and businesses in order to upgrade and repair the school district buildings.
What’s the catch you may ask?
It’s about the PROCESS.
The Nevada Legislature is proposing a mechanism where the Washoe County School Board of Trustees can simply adopt a resolution urging the Washoe County Commission to impose a sales and property tax increase on the residents of Washoe County. Under a proposed amendment to AB46, the WCSD has asked the legislature to pass legislation that requires the Washoe County Commission to raise property and sales taxes for WCSD’s benefit. The process that is being considered does not adhere to legislative rules for tax increases (including the constitutional 2/3 requirement) and will NOT go to a vote of the people.
The will of the people and their voices are being lost in this process.
The people of Nevada voted a constitutional provision to require a 2/3 super-majority requirement on all legislative tax increases, but now the legislature is doing an end-run around this requirement byforcinga local elected body to impose new taxes on the legislature’s behalf. Further, the voters of Washoe County elected County Commissioners to exercise their personal judgment with regard to tax increases, but now the legislature is trying to mute the voices of the people, as expressed through their elected representative, by coercing them into taking a specific decision.
Americans for Prosperity does not stand in the way of the will of the people.
Will we educate the people on the positives and negatives of policy? Absolutely!
We also RESPECT the process.
The Legislature is treading into very grey area and fine line with our Nevada Constitution. Rather than raising revenue for the Washoe County School District’s building fund, the legislature may be costing taxpayers a substantial amount if and when the constitutionality of this action is challenged in Nevada’s respected judicial system.
YOU BE THE JUDGE.