Lee puts out tax proposal

Nevada Sen. John Lee, D-Las Vegas, today put out a skeleton property tax plan designed to get some proposal moving in the Legislature.

Lee said county assessors and treasurers must have a plan in hand by the end of this month in order to get the changes on this coming year's tax bills. He said property values have risen as much as 42 percent in the past year and that if nothing is done, homeowners in many parts of Nevada will be hit with huge tax increases this next year.

Lee said a long list of ideas are being discussed but, "Not enough is happening fast enough."

The goal is to get something in this house moving," he said. "I've waited for leadership and nothing came out."

His plan would set a limit of 4 percent increases in property tax values per year on both new and existing property. The limit would last two years and give lawmakers time to conduct a thorough study of the property tax system and develop a permanent fix for Nevada's property tax system.

"At present we are working in the dark," he said.

Lee said before the system is changed dramatically, they need to understand the affect of proposed changes on state and local governments and school districts as well as taxpayers.

He said the 4 percent cap would hurt some smaller entities - including small counties - so he's proposing a $20 million fund to help those entities adversely affected by the cap.

Finally, he said the state should begin the process of changing the constitution to permit more flexibility.

Some plan must start moving through the Legislature, he said, or county officials won't have time to implement the changes. Assessors have said it would be almost impossible to make changes after the end of this month.

He will ask the Senate Taxation Committee to request a bill draft containing his proposals as a starting point at Thursday's hearing.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or at 687-8750.


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