What's Next? Tax Increases for Schools Rejected by County Commission

By: Joe Harrington Email
By: Joe Harrington Email

RENO -- A measure to raise taxes to fund school repairs failed Tuesday night. The Nevada State Legislature enabled Washoe County commissioners to raise sales and property taxes by a four out of five vote -- the money being raised for school district capital improvements. Commissioner Kitty Jung motioned to approve the taxes, but no other commissioners supported the proposal.

"It was very sad to watch and to hear and I feel we've let down 68-thousand young people," Jung said.

It's been a long road for the measure, which was known as Assembly Bill 46 when it was in the legislative process. It was first proposed nearly a year ago.

Commissioner David Humke said he had concerns about the tax increase as the state continues to emerge from the Great Recession. Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said: "I think the community wants to understand how its tax dollars are being spent and wants to transparency, credibility and accountability."

Washoe County School Board president Barbara Clark said money that would have been used to modernize seven schools may now have to be spent on maintenance.

"There is always a roof, a heating or a plumbing issue... it's going to be hard to address those," Clark said.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez said the district may go back to the legislature or the voters to ask for more funding for repairs, but that would be several years from now.

The failed measure would have raised $20 million a year, while costing the average family one hundred dollars.

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