Monday, July 14, 2008 | 4:11 p.m.
Governor Jim Gibbons may be challenged as a chief executive but give him credit for knowing how to whack thousands from his own property tax bill. Gibbons, who is preparing for the day when the Vegas club scene, the Reno rodeo circuit and even IHOP lose their luster, picked up a pricey piece of retirement property last year in Elko County. The parcel could have cost the governor (and gained the state) $5,000 annually in property taxes. But in a flash of fiscal brilliance Gibbons realized (OK, someone probably told him) that he could avoid the tax bill AND earn money by letting cows graze his land. The Elko assessor, who initially turned down the request, says he felt pressured to approve it, especially when it was restated by Gibbons' attorney and Nevada Tax Commission member John Marvel.
Maybe the Elko assessor needs to learn to say no. Maybe the governor needs to stop throwing his weight around to get his way, which he eventually got. Regardless, the Associated Press reports the "proof" provided to the assessor consisted of the front sides of two checks supposedly tendered to pay Gibbons for the grazing rights.
We, like the Elko assessor, would like proof the checks were cashed. The governor's spokeman, after maligning the Elko assessor for questioning the governor's integrity, said he'd try to obtain copies of the cancelled checks but cautioned the governor's finances are personal.
We'll hear from the Elko assessor and hope to hear from attorney Marvel tomorrow about the governor's tax break. Of course, we'd like to hear from the governor, too.