Massive Washoe County Sales Tax Increase

The following post was submitted by Jeff Church – Retired Reno Police Officer:

Washoe County voters will be facing A November ballot measure for a massive .54 sales tax increase to 8.26% (higher than Las Vegas and parts of California).

I am on the committee drafting the OPPOSITION to the tax. I welcome any input. I can provide more info on request but the $781 million (that’s a lot!) figure quoted in the media is simply 100% false. That is the figure proposed by the research group and at meetings I attended but then a bait and switch occurred and the present ballot measure:

  1. Never ends- no sunset- billions after the $781 is reached
  2. Has no mechanism to shut it off or reduce it after building needs are met
  3. Allow SUPPLANTATION (google it): add to the top and take off the bottom
  4. Can be used for EXISTING salaries and costs before a dime is spent on new schools.
  5. No enforcement measure.

*many taxes allow annual review and adjustment- although of course they  always take the max- but this has no way to shut it off!

  1. The $781 figure included a lot of pork and only projected out 9 years. There is no study to justify the tax beyond that.
  2. The $781 was the cost (pork filled) for 9 years of school needs. It did say we had a shortfall and did not address where the $ comes from, i.e. existing budget, etc…
  3. They already have about half the money need, it’s called SB 207 passed in the last legislature giving them $315 of your property tax. So minus pork, that’s half of the need. Add in existing funding and knock off another 30-60 million. Via C Tax and growth and rising property tax etc: the WCSD revenue is already increasing at about $17 million a year, enough to build a school a year.
  4. Even if it passed today, the “some call it extortion” tactic of double sessions won’t be affected. It will be 4+ years before the first school is built and available labor limits us at most building 2 schools at a time!
  5. Private Build Sell or lease could save millions and reduce building time by 30% or more.
  6. Most growth is in the north-south outlaying areas but still there may be an existing building or two that could be used as has been done elsewhere for govt buildings..
  7. The last legislature approved SB302,  the E.S.A. (Education savings Account: similar to voucher) program to take off the burden and give parents funds to send kids to private schools. Summary: They already have the money, they did a bait & switch and the tax never ends and can’t be reduced.

SUMMARY: Via SB 207, existing budget and increased annual revenue ($17 million) they have funds already. Charter and private schools (ESA) can provide an alternative. If the need still exists, let’s draft one that is adjustable, sunsets and based on a financial study to justify the need.

I welcome input.

Jeff Church

Renocop@earthlink.net

Note:  Information on referenced Nevada Education Savings Account Program (ESA) may be obtained via the following link:

http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/SchoolChoice/Home/