Special session not a likely solution | NevadaAppeal.com

Special session not a likely solution

Nevada Appeal editorial board

A special session of the Nevada Legislature to cap property taxes? Not likely, nor would it be good policy.

We can sympathize with homeowners who are being hit with staggering increases in their bills. But the first thing to remember is that these big increases aren’t being caused primarily by higher taxes – they’re being caused by updated valuations of the properties.

In other words, property values in some areas of the state are going through the roof, taking property-tax bills with them. This is hardly a new issue, or one that couldn’t be foreseen two or even four years ago.

Incline Village residents have been trying for years to slay this dragon and have found advocates in the Legislature. Yet they have made little progress, perhaps because most people in the state simply didn’t share their concerns. Fairly or unfairly, the Incline Village folks were characterized as rich homeowners complaining about paying their taxes.

Now, as reassessments spread and property values rise quickly in more parts of the state, it’s becoming a crisis.

And passing legislation to deal with a crisis too often leads to bad legislation.

It also goes against our sense of sound, efficient government to call a special session of the Legislature for an issue that already has been the subject of much committee debate and has been the target of a variety of potential solutions.

We happen to think a 6 percent cap as initially proposed by Clark County Assessor Mark Schofield seems like a good idea. But a number of other ideas and variations have been floated, and they’re all going to have consequences for school districts and utility districts.

Is the idea to come up with some stopgap measure, which will then be adjusted when the Legislature meets in regular session in the spring of 2005? Do we really expect a Legislature which failed to see the consequences of its actions on taxpayers to come up with long-term solutions during a shoot-from-the-hip special session?

We suppose it’s possible. Just not likely.