Officials in Reno bump up against no-tax pledge
Educators and city officials in Reno are running into an obstacle in their effort to secure funding for pressing needs in the fast-growing city: a pledge of no new taxes taken by Gov. Jim Gibbons and 14 state legislators.
Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and Washoe County Schools Superintendent Paul Dugan are searching for solutions after Gibbons met with delegations from the city and school district.
“I walked out of there realizing that we have a difficult battle to fight, based on his firm belief of no new taxes,” Dugan said. “But I did not walk out of there feeling that this is not worth the effort.”
The school district is seeking legislation to increase real estate sales taxes in an effort to help fund new school construction and maintain existing facilities. The city is seeking legislation to impose a quarter-cent sales tax increase in an effort to add police and fire personnel.
Cashell said he hopes a provision in the measure allowing the city to hold a special election on the tax increase could help get support of anti-tax lawmakers.
“Give us the enabling legislation, and let us take the heat,” the mayor said. “We would like to have a city vote of it.”
Gibbons said he would not stand in the way of tax increases if Nevadans showed they supported them for such projects as highway improvements.
“As I explained to both parties, I am opposed to any fee or tax increases on a state level,” Gibbons said. “I told them that I would work with them to assist in other ways to find a means by which they can meet those needs, but I cannot support increasing taxes on homeowners from a state level.”