Restricting state’s power to raid local coffers gets support

Clark County voters expressed support Tuesday for reining in the state’s authority to take money from local governments.

About 55 percent of voters answered “yes” to an advisory question that asked whether state leaders should get local governments’ permission before dipping into their funds to balance the state’s budget. About 45 percent of voters opposed the measure.

It’s uncertain whether the majority vote will lead to actual restrictions on the state’s power to raid local coffers.

Many county leaders throughout the state hoped to send a message to state lawmakers to at least work with local governments before taking their money.

Critics say that when the state diverts local funds, it further strains the budgets of local governments, leading to layoffs and reduced services. The state gets a quick financial fix but no long-term solution, they say.

Those who support the state’s current authority say the Legislature must have the ability to divert funds from local governments in a budget crisis for the benefit of all Nevada taxpayers.

In another question that was on the ballot for Mount Charleston residents, 53 percent of voters rejected a proposed local 911 call system that would have cost them about $4 a year in property taxes.

The new system would have shown the caller’s address and phone number on a computer screen to aid dispatchers in locating the emergency.

It also could have been used to notify residents about fires, impending storms, landslides and other emergencies.

Proponents argued that the tax increase was nominal for boosting public safety. Having the caller’s address identified on a computer would help rescue teams locate a child or vocally impaired person who might have called, they said.

Opponents argued that any increase in property taxes was too high in the current economy.

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