State collects $1 billion less in property taxes due to cap | NevadaAppeal.com

State collects $1 billion less in property taxes due to cap

The total value of property in Nevada has increased 33.4 percent in the past year, to just under $114.5 billion.

According to the annual Department of Taxation report on property tax rates and values, state schools and local governments can expect a total of $2.7 billion in property tax revenues during the 2006-7 fiscal year.

According to data in the report approved by the commission Monday, that is nearly a billion dollars less than those entities would have collected if the 2005 Legislature hadn’t capped residential property tax increases at 3 percent a year and businesses at 8 percent.

Without those caps, property tax collections would have gone up by almost the same 33.4 percent total assessed values went up.

The bulk of that reduction was in Clark County, where total property tax collections will be $727.5 million less than they would have been without the caps enacted by lawmakers. Projections say governmental entities and schools in Clark will still collect more than $2 billion in property taxes this coming fiscal year.

The financial hit to Carson City and its schools was $8.85 million, mostly to the city’s general fund, which will absorb about $6 million of that. Altogether, the capital district will generate an estimated $15.1 million in property tax revenue.

But Douglas County, with skyrocketing home values in the Tahoe Basin suddenly limited to 3 percent and 8 percent, will receive $55.8 million – an estimated $34.4 million less than it would have. That includes not only the reduction to county coffers but school district revenues, towns and special districts as well as the state’s share of revenues collected in Douglas.

Those reductions, officials point out, are money that stays in the homeowners’ bank accounts instead of government treasuries.

The reduction in Washoe County is $23.4 million, and in Lyon, $4.29 million.

The reductions in Carson City and Douglas County will occur even though both counties raised their property tax rates dramatically this year. Carson upped its rate from $2.69 per $100 of assessed valuation to $3 – a total increase of just over 30 cents. Douglas increased its rate from $2.39 to $2.97 – about 58 cents.

Carson Finance Director Tom Minton said both counties have long tried to keep their rates well below the amount the state allows county governments to assess. He said with the 2005 cap legislation, however, raising the rate doesn’t raise actual taxes. For a family living in its own home, the maximum annual increase in taxes is capped at 3 percent.

Douglas Comptroller Claudette Springmeyer said the same is true in Douglas.

“Even though it’s a tax rate increase, it doesn’t change the tax bill,” she said.

The reason for the increase, according to both, is to capture the full value of new construction, which will go on the tax rolls at full market value and at the higher tax rate.

Minton pointed out that most other counties in the state are already using the maximum allowable rate for general operations.

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