This legislative session can be a win-win | NevadaAppeal.com

This legislative session can be a win-win

Nevada Appeal editorial board

With just two weeks to go, the 2005 session of the Nevada Legislature is looking like a win-win for taxpayers.

Property owners already have a win in the books, with the passage earlier in the session of landmark tax reform, which sets a 3 percent cap on increases for owner-occupied residential property and an 8 percent limit on the rest.

There remains conjecture the limits will be tested in court, because they set a two-tiered tax structure in Nevada for the first time. It rests entirely on an opinion that property tax increases greater than 3 percent constitute a “hardship” for homeowners.

We won’t argue with that, but it’s a bit hard to follow the logic that 5 percent hurts individuals but is just fine for businesses.

The second part of the win will come when the Legislature approves a rebate of some $300 million in surplus funds as budgeted by Gov. Kenny Guinn. We still think it will happen, but time is running short.

The holdup remains the manner in which the money would be distributed. There are advantages and disadvantages over Guinn’s original suggestion of up to $300 for each registered vehicle, but nothing that’s keeping us awake at night. Pick one.

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The remaining legacy of the 2005 Legislature remains, in large part, to be seen. Last session’s tax increases, plus a burgeoning economy, have given lawmakers money to apply to the state’s aching needs.

But with major portions of the budget still hanging fire, and left-field surprises like the vote Friday in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee to fiddle with a voter-approved minimum wage, we’re not quite ready to go out on a limb.

We would like to see this Legislature compile a record its two previous counterparts were unable to reach: adjourning on time. Taxpayers may be faring better than usual, but they never quite breath easy until the session is over.

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