Thursday’s legislative hearing on property tax increases showed exactly why you can’t trust politicians.
Local governments are desperate to raise your property taxes, and to do that, the Nevada Association of Counties has proposed AB43. It would create a path to set the floor on property tax increases at 3 percent a year. This year, the cap limited property tax increases in Clark County to double the rate of inflation. Because inflation was 0.1 percent, the cap limited your property tax increases to 0.2 percent.
Instead of telling the public that AB43 will increase your property taxes by eventually raising the floor to 3 percent, “stability” was the word of the hearing.
“This is about stability,” said Jeff Fontaine, executive director of Nevada Association of Counties. “This is about fixing a broken system. This is not again about creating a windfall by getting new revenues for counties or other local government.”
“This is not raising, but keeping stable,” said Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas.
“We’re actually just providing stability so we can plan around our needs, our goals. We may not get growth, but we will get stability,” said Assembly Tax Chairwoman Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas.
Merriam-Webster’s defines stable as “firmly established” and “not changing or fluctuating.” For a homeowner, a “stable” property tax bill would mean paying $1,000 last year and $1,000 this year. If politicians really wanted “stability” they’d propose setting the floor and ceiling at zero percent.
Boom. Complete stability.
Instead, “stability” is a falsehood politicians are peddling to try to confuse you. They don’t want stable property taxes. They want stable increases in property taxes. They want your $1,000 property tax bill to grow to $1,030 then $1,061 and so on. Funny how they all just forget to mention the “increase” part.
The assertion that this bill won’t enrich local governments is false. That’s the only reason they’re fighting so hard for this and what’s to come. Politicians and lobbyists spent the meeting winking at each other because this, in the words of Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, D-Las Vegas, is only the “first step.” Translated: Give them this, and they’ll be back to take more.
Think about those they want to take from. Las Vegas has one of the highest shares of underwater homes in the country, at 16.8 percent. That number jumps to 26.5 percent in predominantly Hispanic areas.
If you think property taxes are too low, tell the public. Make that your platform when you run for office, not after you’re elected. If you win, you’ll have a mandate to raise property taxes. Until then, the only recourse taxpayers have is to vote out any politician voting for AB43.