Letters for Nov. 17, 2017
November 16, 2017
Save the tree, move the splash pad
It was sad to read about the tree removal to be replaced by a splash pad. Easily there could be other options. Keep the tree. Move the flagpole to another location in the park if it impedes with raising the flag. Put the splash pad in another location in the park. A win-win for all. Minden would honor the past and have an attraction for the children.
Is there a need for affordable housing?
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"Affordable Housing." Douglas County needs it, so THEY say. Now there's a County task force assigned to study how to solve the "problem." Really? Isn't that putting the cart before the horse? Shouldn't the "need" be established before we run to expend time and money to fix it?
Regarding the oft heard (mostly from casino folks) "We can't get workers" argument, I would want some proof of a sizable number of potential workers not taking a job because they discovered they had no possibility for housing close enough to the work site.
If we are talking about empowering poor people to relocate to Douglas County (who would come if we make the housing cheap enough because this is a jewel of a place in which to live, not because they seek employment here) simply because we should be kindhearted and care about single parents and other similarly struggling families, that's not a "need." That's charitable giving, and there are a host of possibilities for giving available to those who feel they want to help people in those unfortunate straits. Otherwise, it's government-mandated wealth distribution.
If the community (through a vote) chooses to spend its tax dollars and change the "rural" flavor of this county by improving the lives of these low income families and sees that as a priority, then that's great, but I personally don't think government (in this case the county) should be in the business of social engineering.
Questions that I think must be answered before undertaking "affordable housing" by allowing development that deviates from the Master Plan, or housing that has special rules such that developers get "incentives" and/or those who own residences don't pay the same rate of property taxes (or in some cases, such as HUD, would pay NO property taxes to the county) as the rest of us would be:
How many jobs a year go unfilled because the pay is too low for the person with the job to afford nearby housing? How far is too far to drive to get to a job? How much "affordable housing" is there now in that radius (say 35 miles or so), and what and where is it? If NO such housing exists, or if the amount of housing is scant, then that's something that needs to be considered, but even then, it doesn't automatically add up to Douglas County doing anything that raises the tax burden on its taxpayers.
And besides, why shouldn't "market forces" solve this problem (again, if it exists). If there is a shortage of workers because the pay is too low to afford housing, how about the employers who require the workers raise the pay to attract them? I just heard last week from the Nevada State Controller about how the casinos are now paying dramatically less of a percentage of their earnings in taxes than they did 10 years ago. Could we be being "played" by these casino owners, such that we would be subsidizing their workforce?
Tax bill doesn't help the people
At the state level, didn't Republican state legislators and the governor assault us with virtually the same gross receipts (margin) tax Nevada voters had overwhelmingly rejected a few months earlier?
At the local level didn't four of five Republican Douglas County Commissioners (1 later defeated for re-election, 1 term limited, 2 still on the Board) assault us with a gas tax hike? Now at the federal level, aren't Republican House and Senate leaders, in addition to the president, trying to assault us with an onerous tax plan that eliminates personal exemptions, eliminates or caps our key deductions while raising the first income tax tier rate 20 percent (House plan), and creating annual tax rate hikes indexed by government (House plan)? Don't Republican proposed tax plans reward corporations with a 42.9 percent cut (from 35 percent to 20 percent) in their tax rate, with no government indexed annual tax rate hikes in the future, and aren't corporations allowed to keep all their deductions with no additional caps, including all deductions for interest, state and local taxes? Don't several tax credits for families or individuals in the plans, which Republicans tout as tax cuts, expire in a few years, while annual government indexed tax rates increase (House plan)? To add further insult to injury, don't the proposed Republican tax plans increase the number of freeloaders (AKA taxeaters) who pay no income tax at all, and who can file with the IRS for the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and actually receive a government check, paid for by us taxpayers?
If you are a taxpayer who already is not happy with supporting freeloaders, who does not wish to be assaulted with additional federal income tax burdens, who does not wish to pay for massive tax cuts for corporations, who does not wish to lose personal exemptions, who does not wish to lose deductions for property taxes (Senate plan eliminates deduction/House plan caps deduction), sales taxes, vehicle taxes, tax preparation fees, alimony payments, student loan interest, moving expenses, mortgage interest (House plan cap), and medical expenses (House plan), who does not want annual government indexed tax rate increases (House plan), then perhaps you should contact Republican Sen. Dean Heller (775-686-5770), Republican Rep. Mark Amodei (775-686-5760), and ask them to kill the bill!