On the surface, it seems like Gov. Gibbons was consistent with his stance on not raising taxes by vetoing a bill that would have allowed the county commissions in Churchill and Lyon counties to build a joint juvenile detention center.
That bill wouldn't have raised taxes, but would have allowed the counties to do so to build the badly needed 24-bed center. They needed the Legislature's approval because it would have been above the property tax cap approved in 2005. Gibbons suggested in his veto remarks that they need to find a solution other than raising taxes, and pledged support in finding it. Officials are still waiting for those solutions.
Consistency is a two-edged sword that cuts deeply in this matter, as was so keenly pointed out by officials from the two counties who will now have to figure out a secure way to house a growing number of juvenile offenders.
They point out the property tax burden Clark and Washoe counties will bear under Gibbons' plan for new highway construction, a state responsibility. Lyon and Churchill counties, which aren't building highways, but need a detention center, weren't asking for state money, only for the state to allow it to meet its mandate.
It must be recognized that there are basic services that government must provide and the juvenile center, like highway construction elsewhere, falls into that category. If the governor had signed the bill, the public could have had its say in the public process that would have been used.
Conversely, maybe voters in Clark and Washoe counties should be wondering what happened to their ability to have a say on taxes.