Governor Nixes Special Session on Property Taxes

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Gov. Kenny Guinn rejected a call Friday for a special session to deal with a cap on property taxes, saying it can be addressed at the beginning of the 2005 legislative session.

"This action will save taxpayers money by not calling a special session," the governor said in a statement.

"Local officials, Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio and Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins assured me that we can properly deal with this issue during the regular session with no penalty to property owners, Guinn said.

"This is a complicated issue that legislators have assured me they will study and address as soon as the session begins in February," the governor said.

Guinn spokesman Greg Bortolin said Thursday that calling a special session could have a chaotic effect on the campaign season, since lawmakers up for re-election would have to suspend fund-raising for up to two weeks before and after a special session.

The special-session request came from state Sen. Ann O'Connell, R-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman David Brown, R-Henderson. They said Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, also supports the session to impose a 6 percent cap on annual property tax increases.

O'Connell said the 6 percent cap, first proposed by Clark County Assessor Mark Schofield, needs to be implemented quickly. Waiting until the 2005 session may be too late to head off big tax increases for homeowners, she said.

Enacting the cap now also would give local governments, which fund much of their budgets from property taxes, the opportunity to budget based on the new limits, O'Connell said.

Hettrick said if the Legislature waits until next year and tries to head off big property tax increases taking effect July 1, then rollbacks would be necessary, creating huge problems for county assessors and local government budgets.

Guinn said there would be time to address the issue before county assessors compile tax rolls in March.

The proposed cap would limit the growth of a total property tax bill to 6 percent per year no matter how much of an increase in property value had occurred.

Currently there's a 6 percent growth cap on only about a third of the various tax rates that determine a property tax bill, the rates that support a governing entity's operating budget. Not covered by the existing cap are the tax rates for the support of such things as schools, bond redemption, state capital improvements or municipal pools.


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