Southern Nevada officials call for tax increases
November 18, 2012
Some Southern Nevada elected officials are calling for tax increases, saying cities and counties can’t provide essential services without them.They voiced the concerns Friday in Carson City at the Local Government Summit, which attracted about 60 city council and county commission members from across the state, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.Among those who said tax increases are essential for local governments are Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins and Las Vegas Councilman Bob Coffin.They said Nevada cities and counties are operating on much less property tax revenues than before the recession, and adequate services can’t be provided without the ability to tax.Jeremy Aguero, a principal with Applied Analysis of Las Vegas, opened the meeting by saying that since the beginning of the recession, Nevada’s cities and counties have lost half of the money they used to receive from property taxes. “You can’t go on trying to run your city on half the property tax,” Collins said. “Raise the damn property tax.”Coffin said cities and counties across the state are facing the same situation.“We can’t keep up the pipes or streets or the lights anymore without having the ability to tax,” he said. “Every city is in the same situation. We are falling apart.”Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross called on state legislators to give local governments the authority to raise taxes on their own. He said his city faces a “fiscal cliff,” just as the federal government does.Ross noted the state sales tax system was created in 1955, when most sales were on products compared with today when most purchases are on untaxed services.“We cannot continue to do it the same way,” Ross said. “We have to send (that message) to Carson City. Commissioner Collins is right. We represent the same people (as legislators). We don’t want Band-Aids on us anymore.”Ross later told the Review-Journal that his comments should not be interpreted to mean he supports all tax increases. “I am not a big tax fan, but taxes are part of the solution,” he said. Republican Assemblymen Pete Livermore of Carson City and Tom Grady of Yerington said after the meeting they couldn’t support tax increases.Both said the Legislature and local governments must first look at cutting spending before considering tax increases.Livermore said raising taxes would only drive away businesses that could relocate to Nevada.