Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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Tax increase proposal would raise $54 million annually for schools, social services

Clark County Commissioners

Wade Vandervort

Clark County Commissioner Justin C. Jones speaks during a commission meeting at the Clark County Government Center on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Nevada lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year allowing counties to implement up to a quarter-cent sales tax increase to help fund social service and education programs.

Clark County Commissioners on Tuesday will hear a proposal calling for a one-eighth percent sales tax increase, or half of the cap established by the state, with proceeds directed toward education, and programs fighting homelessness and truancy.

A decision on the increase won’t be made until after a Sept. 3 public hearing.

The plan calls for half of the proceeds to go toward the Clark County School District for early childhood and adult education, and for incentives for the recruitment and retention of teachers. Teacher vacancies are at a four-year high at 750.

The two entities met last month to discuss issues facing CCSD and how a sales tax increase might be used to address them. It was believed to be the first time elected officials from a school district met with a county board to discuss solutions in education.

When commissioners first discussed an increase, it was for a full quarter-cent. According to state officials, an increase of that amount would raise an estimated $108 million annually. Under the new proposal, the amount raised annually would be around $54 million.

Commissioner Justin Jones said the proposal to only implement a one-eighth percent sales tax increase was to give some social services within the county time to revamp their programs. Boys Town Nevada and The Harbor are programs Jones touted for addressing truancy, which is at 18.7% in CCSD.

“Rather than increase immediately and have the monies sitting in a pot until they have the ability to scale of their services and staffing, we thought it prudent to only increase it an eighth of a percent,” he said.