EDITORIAL: Raises show no need for Henderson tax hike

It needs to be repeated again and again: There is an exceptionally short list of Nevada government entities that need more funding, even though every last one of them is clamoring for tax hikes. The state’s K-12 system is at the top of the list, and Nevada’s awful mental health care system is a close second. And improving mental health care in Nevada holds the promise of reducing costs for police, courts, jails and the overall health care system.

Southern Nevada’s cities and Clark County are not on the short list. They’ve done so little to address their overly generous and unsustainable personnel costs (besides increasing them further) that they’re unworthy of another cent of tax money.

That hasn’t stopped the Henderson City Council from calling for a property tax increase. Government leaders say that without more tax money, the city’s roads and infrastructure will begin to crumble.

Nonetheless, the City Council this week decided against putting a property tax increase before voters in next year’s low-turnout municipal election. (Perhaps because three council members will be on that very ballot?) Mayor Andy Hafen said he wants to see how the 2015 legislative session plays out, and that he wants more input from residents.

Perhaps Henderson taxpayers should come to Tuesday’s council meeting to share their thoughts on a tax increase. During that meeting, the council is expected to approve a two-year contract for all city employees represented by the Teamsters Local 14. The contract includes a 1 percent base wage increase retroactive to July 1, a lump-sum payment equal to 2 percent of their total pay for fiscal year 2014 (less any clothing allowance) and a 2 percent base wage increase effective July 1, 2015.

No wonder Henderson can’t afford to fix roads and city buildings. The best-paid local government employees in Nevada keep getting pay raises.

The council is making the argument against a tax increase all by itself.

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