Two election challengers disagree with Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani’s consistent vote against a sales tax increase as she runs for a third and final four-year term in District E.
Other commissioners have tried unsuccessfully to raise the More Cops sales tax, which would increase the sales tax rate by up to 0.15 percentage points to raise money for police departments in the county.
The proposal was billed as a way to bolster the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Department, but questions about how many new officers the tax hike would net and concerns about the tax’s regressive nature played a hand in Giunchigliani’s no votes.
Two of her three challengers — one a fellow Democrat facing her in the June 10 primary — back the More Cops sales tax increase.
Giunchigliani has been a key swing vote in defeating the measure, which requires five out of seven commission votes for passage. So the outcome of the District E race could mean the difference between the county’s current 8.1 percent sales tax rate and a higher, 8.25 percent rate.
Giunchigliani, a county resident for 36 years, was a state legislator from 1990 to 2006.
“The sales tax is very regressive,” she said. “It’s too high as it is. It affects middle-class and fixed-income people disproportionately.”
Lou Toomin, who has lived in the county for 42 years, is the public information officer and chief operating officer for embattled Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura. He served a term in the state Assembly in the early 1990s.
Toomin faults his Democratic opponent for not voting in favor of More Cops.
“All she had to do was put a caveat on it that the money would only be used for more cops,” Toomin said.
He also has problems with what he calls burdensome county regulations, such as preventing him from walking his dog on the Strip.
Two candidates are facing off in the GOP primary: Randy Rose and Joe Thibodeau.
Rose said he wants to use the position to educate county residents about the federal Fair Tax Act, a proposal that would simplify the U.S. tax code.
He said he’s against raising the county’s sales tax rate to pay for police officers.
Thibodeau, a county resident since 1973, said any proposed tax increase would have to be analyzed, and the focus should be on spending existing money wisely to provide essential services.
He said he’s in favor of raising the sales tax for more police officers, saying that the population needs public safety services. The proposed tax increase is minuscule and a good trade-off for better public safety, he said.
He also said he’s concerned about the safety of Regional Transportation Commission bus stops that don’t have a lane for buses to pull into.
The winners of each primary will face off in the Nov. 4 general election.