Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Sales tax is right move for Las Vegas

In a recent editorial, “More Cops once more,” the Sun cites police critics who say the sales tax increase we voters approved in a 2004 advisory vote to hire more police wrongly went to other police expenses (salary increases, etc.). Critics further say “in actual fact,” the new tax will only help fill current vacancies.

The critics’ two points are valid. However, as the Sun says, the public and county commissioners who will vote next week on the initiative should look at the bigger picture. Meaning:

1) There’s been a 12 percent increase in local crime from 2011 to 2012.

2) The financial toll of the recession has been devastating to our police department — $60 million a year less since 2009.

3) Metro Police face a $30 million shortfall this fiscal year.

4) Current police staffing levels are below the norm, which FBI statistics confirm.

Accordingly, the Sun says our county commission should pass the sales tax increase. I agree.

Further, when we look at the bigger picture and these facts, a tax approval is a must: Our economy and success as a city is based on tourism (40 million visitors a year). Increased crime will turn tourists away, thereby worsening our woes and financial picture. Further, the tax is small, 0.15 percent — 15 cents on a $100 purchase. And, our public safety for ourselves, families and tourists takes priority over all else.

Accordingly, I urge our county commissioners to do the right thing and approve this small sales tax for the good of Las Vegas.

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