RDA No. 2 is a critical debate | RecordCourier.com

RDA No. 2 is a critical debate

We’re going to leave the question of whether Chairman Barry Penzel should resign as chairman to our letter writers.

That’s because we don’t want last week’s fracas to overshadow the importance of the debate that prompted it.

For more than a half century, while Carson Valley has been growing cows and houses, the casinos at Stateline have been a source of jobs and wealth for the county.

There was a time when Nevadans could say that California gamblers helped keep their taxes low. Nevada’s reputation as a tax haven may be in part responsible for all those Golden State residents moving here.

But over the last 20 years, a combination of Indian gaming in California and the Great Recession has reduced the casinos’ revenue-generating and political power.

Enter Redevelopment Area No. 2 and the events center it’s supposed to help fund.

There is no doubt that the redevelopment area will funnel off future property taxes in the form of increased assessed valuation. Property taxes account for 46 percent of the county’s revenue, but not all the estimated $110 million in property taxes expected to be generated by redevelopment at Lake Tahoe over the next 30 years belongs to the county. The combined tax rates for the school and Tahoe Douglas Fire District come very close to the county’s.

Proponents believe the events center will increase revenue from consolidated taxes, which include sales, gaming and sin taxes, and make up 29 percent of the county’s revenue.

Because Douglas County’s sales tax revenues are insufficient to support itself, the state guarantees a certain portion of its revenue, but an act of the Legislature could change all that, and nearly has in the past.

Those fears are what prompted the redevelopment area in the north county. The Douglas County School District is suffering from the state’s tender mercies now. How much longer will Southern Nevada lawmakers tolerate sending money to Douglas County, which has the highest median income in the state, is one question?

The other is whether there will be time to do anything about it should that happen?