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

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




6 thoughts on “Massive Washoe County Sales Tax Increase

  1. I thought this was a blog about our Somersett community? Why is this group posting opinions related to a tax which has nothing to do with the Somersett community. If you are going to post things like this I am going to unsubscribe.

    1. Lisa,

      We agree with your premise. However, this article was posted because we thought it might be of interest to the many Somersett residents with children of school age. We value your subscription.

  2. Fear never works.. how can we support better education, which will bring stable residents (and more revenue to the city), without more sales tax. Would people prefer more property or income tax? Maybe they would prefer bake sales..

  3. I wanted to comment on Jeff Church’s posting, but I don’t want to offend Lisa, who thinks a sales tax increase doesn’t pertain to Somersett residents. So Lisa, please stop reading now.

    Jeff Church is absolutely correct. This new massive tax will make life considerably more difficult for EVERYone, including those of us living in Somersett and Del Webb. This is nearly a 7% increase in our sales tax. Who is getting a 7% increase in their income in the coming year? Not I.

    Schools have squandered money for years and keep asking for more. Nevada schools are in the mid-range of cost-per-student in the US, but at the dead-last bottom of results. If we keep pouring more money into the same bottomless pit, how can one hope for a different result? Kids can learn under a tree and in a meadow. If the infrastructure of schools is so integral to the kids’ learning, then the surplus they already have and the $17M increased income each year should be enough to cover it.

    This boondoggle measure has no cap and no way to enforce that it goes to schools. Let’s at least agree that a bond like this must have those provisions!

    In order to defeat this at the ballot box in November, we need to tell our friends and neighbors and spread the word in all our social circles about this egregious tax with no end. And I, for one, thank Jeff Church for his posting.

  4. I have been to the meeting that overviewed this tax initiative. Please inform yourselves before making a decision. The Economic Development Authority (EDAWN) has backed this measure, we can’t expect to draw new businesses and increase Reno’s appeal with an overcrowded and underfunded school district…

    1. It is NOT a 7% increase, it’s a half percent increase. Probably $100-200/year for an average family.
    2. It is NOT for administrative salaries or school budgets, it is for REPAIR and BUILDING of new schools.
    3. No, it probably can’t prevent year-round schools or the double session at this point, but it can repeal them as space for students is increased district wide. (Do you really want half our high schoolers hanging out around Somersett all day while everyone is at work?)
    4. SB 207 was a good start, but the average age of our schools is around 40 years (I belive) and they are getting run down. Population is increasing dramatically (again).
    5. SB302 is for parents who pull their kids from public school and put them in private. It does nothing for the school district.
    6. WCSD receives about 3M a year from a govt service tax that is for EMERGENCY repairs.
    7. WCSD receives about $35M from property tax. This is not enough to cover the needs.
    8. Our district is at 107% capacity in ES, 98% in MS and 109% in it’s high schools.
    9. New growth has NOT paid for itself. It would take about 4600 new homes to build one new elementary school, but those homes’ impact on the district is far greater (about 2 elementary schools, and half of a new middle and high school).
    10. Somersett developers and homeowners paid $0 toward schools, which is unlike almost any other county where there is an impact fee (just like our assessment that paid back the city for our roads, etc).

    Please be informed! There is a presentation to night at Westergard Elementary School, 5:30 in their library, if you want to hear more and ask questions.

  5. No one likes higher taxes… the sales tax is not applied to all normal everyday living expenses (mortgage, rent, food, etc.)… so a 7% increase in income is not required to stay even…if that is what you really want.

    The issue is the future of Reno, Washoe County and NV’s educational system…To enhance everyones prosperity, we all need to pay something to have our children’s education be first class, and pertinent to the rapidly changing world. The current US and NV tax structure does not really support and encourage the US to have the best on the planet educational system.

    My suggestion would be to have an additional surcharge of 10 cent a gallon on gas/diesel in Washoe County. Better still would be a statewide tax on gas/diesel of 25 cents a gallon…with half the proceeds going to infra-structure for education and the other half to maintaining the roads, sewage, water, etc.

    I am going to vote for the sales tax increase.

    Geoffrey Brooks
    No Children, but believes that children are the future!

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