One more thing to be thankful for this year

If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to thank the Nevada Legislature for placing a 3 percent cap on increases in homeowners' property tax bills.

Assessment notices landing in Carson City residents' mailboxes during the past week underscore what most people already knew: House and land values have been rising at an unprecedented rate.

They knew because property owners in other locations - most notably Incline Village, where the values already were somewhere in the clouds - have been sounding the alarm for years.

Legislators finally got the message last session and, to their credit, thoroughly debated the issue and a number of alternatives before arriving at a 3 percent cap on owner-occupied homes and up to an 8 percent cap on businesses and second homes.

The legislation drew only one no vote, from Republican Sharon Angle, but only because she thought the cap should be tighter.

Now, it doesn't take much courage for a legislator to vote for property-tax relief, especially in Nevada when property values are soaring and there's no fear that governments' penny banks are going to be empty. Shouldn't they have done it at least two years earlier?

In 2003, the year of the big tax increase, Nevada's future wasn't nearly so clear. Some areas, such as Incline Village, were seeing rapid property-value growth. Others, in several rural counties, were teetering on the edge of recession. A state law had to take into account both.

Perhaps more important politically is the clout of Nevada's business community, which was being asked to bear most of the contemplated tax increases. Slamming businesses while protecting homeowners was a political puzzle legislators weren't likely to solve.

Property-tax relief arrived just in time for Carson City homeowners and most of the rest of the state. In politics, sometimes timing is everything.


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