Don’t let parks money get hijacked | NevadaAppeal.com

Don’t let parks money get hijacked

Nevada Appeal editorial board

Delaying the issuance of bonds which are to finance a variety of wildlife, park and environmental projects is a good idea if it’s being done for the right reasons.

The $200 million expenditure was approved last November by voters statewide. Once the bonds are issue, homeowners will be paying a share of property tax to fund them. The amount depends on the timing of the bonds and the value of a home, but it wouldn’t be more than about $15 a year.

The list of projects to be undertaken encompasses much of the state, including improvements at Mormon Station in Genoa and Sand Harbor at Lake Tahoe.

It was a strong message of support from voters in November to say that, despite tough times, the quality of our parks and environment is worth the extra tax dollars.

This week, Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, put the bond issue on hold temporarily. One reason, he said, was to get a better picture of the tax plan being debated vigorously in the Nevada Legislature.

While it makes sense to be cautious, we hope issuance of the bonds won’t get caught up in the tax controversy. Legislators should not postpone the bonds indefinitely, or even for many more months, on the excuse this is just a bad time to be raising taxes or, heaven forbid, the bond money should be used for some other purpose.

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This $200 million is a separate issue, approved by the voters on what they trusted to be park and conservation projects in their vicinity.

Raggio’s second reason for a delay does make sense. Legislators want more specifics on the proposed projects.

State administrators say they aren’t ready to issue the bonds anyway, because they want to hold a series of public meetings to iron out details of how much money will be spent, where and when.

That’s a prudent and sensible approach. We just want to make sure that voter-approved money doesn’t get hijacked somewhere in the pending budget shootout.

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