Legislators should put a cap on property taxes

The No. 1 solution to the property tax problem in Nevada? Lower the tax rates.

We don't really expect that to happen, though, because elected officials don't want to be put in the position of perhaps having to raise them again someday. It looks bad.

Instead, the Nevada Legislature will go through a number of gyrations when it begins meeting next week to try to come up with some kind of cap on how fast property-tax bills may rise.

The problem is being created by increases in values of properties in some fast-growing parts of Nevada. As the assessed value rises, the owner's property tax bill shoots up dramatically.

In Carson City, property taxes aren't a large part of the city's budget, but the school district depends heavily on them. Levies have stayed fairly consistent in recent years, yet bills are going up with assessed values.

Gov. Kenny Guinn urged the Legislature to conduct a "lively debate" of the issue and vowed "We will not rest until property tax relief is a reality." But there's been little to indicate what kind of relief he would support.

We favor the 6 percent cap proposed by Clark County Assessor Mark Schofield, which would reflect historical trends yet keep a lid on runaway growth in property values. While some rural counties worry 6 percent doesn't allow them to generate revenue fast enough, that isn't the problem.

The problem is sky-high bills for long-time homeowners who haven't sold their property, haven't contributed to spiraling growth and haven't seen their services improve.

They need relief - fast.


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