Las Vegas Sun

June 30, 2015

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Bill to raise sales tax to hire more cops proposed for 2009 session

More than 170 more bills proposed for next year’s legislative session

CARSON CITY – Metro Police want to raise the sales tax, Gov. Jim Gibbons is looking to limit demonstrations at funerals and Clark County taxi regulators would like to prohibited cabbies from using cell phones while hauling passengers.

Those are three of more than 170 bills requested in the past week leading up to the Monday deadline for state agencies and local government to request legislation for the 2009 session.

Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, says police in Las Vegas, want to raise the sales tax by one-quarter cent to hire more officers.

Clark County voters in 2004 approved a plan to boost the sales tax by one-half of a cent for more officers. The 2005 Legislature increased the sales tax by one quarter point and some 760 new officers will have been hired by the end of next June not only in Las Vegas but in Henderson, North Las Vegas, Mesquite and Boulder City.

McGinness, chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee, said the police want the other half.

Lt. Tom Roberts of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said the original goal was to have two officers per 1,000 population. By the end of this fiscal year, Roberts said the ratio would be 1.79 officers per 1,000 population in Clark County.

If approved by the Legislature, the tax increase must be approved by the Clark County Commission, Roberts said.

Gibbons, a former military pilot, is concerned about disturbances created by protests at funerals or burials of servicemen who are killed in action, says Ben Kieckhefer, his press secretary. The governor is “sensitive to free speech” to instances where there are protests against the war, says Kieckhefer. But Gibbons wants to place a limit on where the demonstration can take place.

The Taxicab Authority in Clark County wants to stop drivers from using their cell phones while transporting passengers.

The Nevada Association of Counties want to be able to increase the property tax above the limits now of 3 percent for homeowners and 8 percent for businesses. Jeff Fontaine, executive director of the association, said this bill doesn’t require counties to boost the property tax but allows them to get more money for vital public safety, health and welfare services. The bill would permit the counties to exceed the 3 and 8 percent limits for one year and then return to that limit.

The counties, like other governments are feeling a budget crunch but they are the “safety net” for providing such things as medical care for the poor and public safety protection, Fontaine said.

Washoe County wants the Legislature to allow the counties to tack on a fuel surcharge on moving traffic violations. The money collected from the surcharge would pay for fuel used by law enforcement agencies.

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