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July 7, 2015

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Damon Political Report


Sandoval: Courts will ultimately decide whether counties get money back

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Brian Sandoval

Sun Coverage

When the Nevada Supreme Court came down with its decision that the state can’t take local government money, Gov. Brian Sandoval almost immediately declared the decision put a $600 million hole in his proposed budget and reversed himself on a promise not to raise taxes.

But he’s not so quick to act when Clark and Washoe counties ask for $123.5 million of their money back.

During a taping of "To the Point" today, Sandoval said he’s asked Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto for an opinion on whether that ruling would require the state to refund local property tax dollars it grabbed in 2009 to help plug its budget hole.

He acknowledged, however, that the executive branch likely won’t make the final decision on what happens to the money.

“Ultimately, this is going to be another decision that will be decided by the courts to determine the applicability of that Clean Water case to some of these issues like this request made by Clark and Washoe,” he said in one of his first extended interviews since the end of the legislative session.

In May, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the state could not use $62 million from the Clean Water Coalition. That opinion seemed to extend to other local money grabs, prompting Sandoval to back extending the 2009 tax increase instead of taking more local money.

Asked how he could be initially certain the ruling had such a broad application and not immediately comply with the request from Clark and Washoe to refund the money, Sandoval said his interpretation “was not a final determination.”

“As I said before, I have to be a strong steward and leader of the state of Nevada,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a prudent approach to leave Nevada at risk for $600 million.”

In the interview, Sandoval also stuck by his decision not to call a special session to settle redistricting, saying lawmakers didn’t seem interested in arriving at a consensus.

He commended Judge James Todd Russell for seeking a non-political way to arrive at new district lines by tapping the voter registrars to act as special masters to redraw the lines.

But after the registrars balked, Sandoval suggested turning to the lawyer who drew the non-partisan districts for the Board of Regents. Scott Wasserman was a deputy director at the Legislative Counsel Bureau during redistricting in 2001 and is now chief executive officer and special counsel to the regents.

Sandoval said Wasserman took a “thoughtful approach” to the regents maps, which he believes complied with the Voting Rights Act.

“There are two issues here, the partisan ones and the legal issues to make sure they are in compliance with the Voters Rights Act,” Sandoval said. “Both of those were accomplished at the university level. I’m not saying it’s the answer. But it certainly shows a pathway to solving this issue.”

Sandoval's entire interview can be seen Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on KSNV Channel 3 in Las Vegas and KRNV Channel 4 in Reno.

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  1. Mr. Sandoval.

    I will admire you for sticking to your guns but when this fails in court will you personally pick up the tab for the attorneys and court costs?

    You trying to beat a dead horse is doing nothing but costing taxpayers more money.

    If you take from one, you must take from all, that is the law and the judge pretty much laid that one out for you.

    Common sense goes a long way in this world and I will more elected officials would use it.

  2. Republicans in Nevada didn't like the way the map was being drawn to make way for four Congressional Districts. Because they are afraid it will place them at a disadvantage politically.

    So, they rely on the court to decide.

    Now, Governor Sandoval's precious budget, due to using money from taxpayers in both Clark and Washoe Counties, money that may have been illegally procured by the State, needs to returned. Again, because it will put the Republicans at fault for not knowing what they are doing and just taking out their poor business decisions on taxpayers, may cause them to find money elsewhere to balance their stupid budget by taking it out on the people who can't defend themselves nor have a say in Government.

    So yet again, they rely on the courts to decide.

    Both of these incidents are basically saying that, since they can't make a decision in their favor, they are throwing it at the courts to decide. Hopefully on their side.

    Taxpayers in Nevada will NEVER get a fair shake with Republican Party politics. No matter how hard you try to get them to see reason, they'll always twist it to suit their own needs. And nobody elses.

    When are voters in Nevada going to realize we are living in a Republican hell of pure party politics from this unbroken succession line of useless Republican Party Governors?

    Time to get rid of them. We need to take our politics back and get rid of Governors who only look at their constituents as victims waiting to happen.

    All I know is that I paid taxes. Willingly. In good faith. With the understanding that Clark County would in turn use it in good faith and for a good purpose. This is MY job as a taxpayer.

    All of a sudden, the State has it? Someone who was not supposed to get my taxpayers money in the first place? Here comes this yahoo Governor Dracula who just sucks the money, even though it wasn't his decision that got it, he sure is looking for an occasion and an excuse to use MY taxpayer money for some stupid cause like giving his mining buddies another tax break or something.

    Not sure if some kind of law is broken here, but I can damn sure bet that somethin' don't smell right.

    Get the money back. And charge Governor Dracula with theft. Then perp walk him down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard.

    And let me know when that happens. So I can be out there to witness it and laugh at him.

  3. Just one more thing....

    If this indeed is going to court, NEED to step it up a bit.

    I don't care what the hell court dockets you judges, court reporters, battalions of lawyers, what have you are in.

    We're in the midst of an incredible economic downturn here.

    You drag your feet, it gets worse. Not only for me, but for my neighbor, you and the entire State of Nevada.

    The longer you wait, the longer that money is not being used. And money that was SUPPOSED to be used for a good cause.

    Get it goin'. This is high priority. I don't care what kind of stupid excuses you throw out there. Get in gear. Get your fanny perpendiculars going. Throw out all the other cases. They can wait.

    You are empowered also as taxpayers and citizens of the Sovereign State of Nevada. You need to do your part and act as fast as you can and not let taxpayer money be tied up in courts.

    The taxpayers out here are counting on you to do the right thing. GET IT DONE!

  4. So the Nevada Judicial system has been appropriated as the decision making board of the Republican Party? The party of no ideas is now the party no solutions.