CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday he will support legislation to levy a 0.25 percentage point increase in the sales tax rate in Clark County to hire more police officers.
Sandoval said that because voters in Clark County approved the tax in advisory question in 2004, then he will not stand in the way of their wishes and oppose a tax increase.
The sales tax rate in Clark County already is 8.1 percent and would increase to 8.35 percent with the quarter-cent police tax.
“This half-cent sales tax increase was passed by the voters in Clark County in 2004 to specifically fund local law enforcement,” the governor’s statement said.
“Given the importance of public safety to Clark County’s economy and to the citizens of our state’s most populated county, I plan to support the decision of voters of Clark County and sign this measure if it passes the 2013 Legislature.”
Voters backed a 0.50 percentage point tax increase for police, but legislators approved a quarter-cent increase in the 2005 session.
Now, with the economy still struggling to recover from the recession, police seek the additional tax to keep from laying off more officers.
Sheriff Doug Gillespie said in December that he has laid off 238 police and might have to lay off 117 more without additional revenue.
Gillespie said his department’s budget is $46 million short of its needs.
The tax boost would bring in about $75 million to hire officers in police departments across the county.
About $50 million would go to the Metropolitan Police Department, which serves the city of Las Vegas and unincorporated areas of the county.
Sandoval ran for governor in 2010 on a no-new-taxes pledge but broke that promise when he signed a bill in 2011 to extend for two more years $649 million in sales and business taxes.
He already has announced he wants to keep those taxes until July 2015 but will not back any other tax increases.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.