Oppose gas and sales tax increases
October 28, 2015
At their Oct. 5 meeting, four of the five elected members of the Douglas Board of County Commissioners decided not to represent the majority of Douglas County taxpayers, in my opinion, and instead voted for a gasoline tax hike to be effective Feb. 1, 2016. Three Commissioners also voted for a sales tax hike to be effective Jan. 1, 2017, less than two months after the general election.
These votes were at the first reading, and there is a second reading scheduled for Dec. 3 at the commissioners meeting in Minden, which will determine if these new taxes will be implemented. Did any of the commissioners, voting for gas and sales tax rate hikes, campaign on higher taxes during their last election?
If the majority of Douglas County taxpayers are opposed to new taxes, who are the commissioners who voted for higher taxes representing anyway?
Why wouldn't all proposed tax rate hikes be placed on the ballot, if all the commissioners were truly interested in representing their constituents? My perception is that the familiar pairing of contractors/developers (who may not be satisfied until every square inch of undeveloped land in Douglas is covered with asphalt, concrete, or new buildings) and socialist special interests (such as political activists who love tax hikes and Federal bureaucrats offering "matching funds" incentives for local governments to raise taxes) may be trying to convince the Douglas commissioners that our sales, gas, property or utility taxes need to be hiked.
This time the excuse is that tax hikes are needed for a "Connectivity" project. Of course, after the project is completed, the increased taxes will continue to be charged with no end in sight, just like all previous tax rate hikes. What will stop new taxes from being diverted to union employee pensions or additional union hires? Eight out of 10 Nevada registered voters and taxpayers recently voiced their disapproval of a statewide gross receipts tax. Arrogant Carson City politicians decided not to represent their constituents and instead voted for a massive tax increase, including a gross receipts tax and commerce tax.
On the other hand, the Douglas BOCC, unlike our state and federal legislators, after receiving strong opposition from taxpayers, recently decided unanimously to represent the majority of their constituents by denying a special use permit for the intrusive proposed Greenstone massive solar electric industrial power plant.
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If all Douglas County residents were actually to become aware of the tax rate hikes supported by a majority of the Commissioners on October 5th, my opinion is that the public opposition would be substantial. During the past few years Douglas County has already been the beneficiary of windfall increases in tax revenue with no tax rate increases. For example, previously Amazon.com, the largest online retailer in the world, did not charge sales tax on items shipped to Nevada purchasers from other states. They now charge 7.1% sales tax for Douglas County resident purchases from all states. The housing boom has resulted in increased property tax revenue from rising home prices, the construction of new homes, and major remodeling of existing homes. Price inflation of goods, such as clothing and major appliances has produced additional sales tax revenue. Increased windfall sales, gas, utility, and property tax/fee revenue has been generated by new businesses on 395, such as the Walmart Supercenter and gas station in Gardnerville, the COD Casino, the Sonic Drive-In restaurant in Minden, in addition to the Maverick gas station and convenience store on 88 in Minden. Have not major improvements to existing businesses, such as the Carson Valley Inn in Minden, and Sharkey's Casino in Gardnerville also generated additional windfall tax revenue increases with no tax rate increases?
My perception is that most taxpayers and voters in Douglas County are not clamoring for increased sales, gas, property, utility, or any other taxes. All Douglas County Commissioners should consider the representation of constituents to be a greater goal than caving to contractors and developers and socialist special interest groups. Thank you, Chairman Doug Johnson, for at least voting no on the sales tax rate increase at the Oct. 5 first reading. Thank you, Commissioner Barry Penzel, for voting no on Oct. 5 for both the gas tax hike and the sales tax rate hike. I urge all five commissioners to oppose gas, sales, and any other tax increases at the second reading scheduled for the Dec. 3 meeting. Citizens wishing to oppose (or support) the new gas and sales tax rate hikes can contact commissioners by telephone: 782-9821, fax: 782-6255, or email: email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. You may also express your opinion December 3rd at the Minden Historic Courthouse.
R. Adam is a Genoa resident