Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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Amendment adds expiration date for proposed sales tax hike

CARSON CITY — A bill permitting the Clark County Commission to increase the sales tax to support the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been approved by the Senate Revenue and Economic Committee.

But the committee on Thursday amended the bill for the increase to expire after four years unless the Legislature extends it.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said the bill also will now require a report on how the money is being spent.

Chuck Callaway, Metro’s police director, said any additional money is welcome, but he didn’t like the sunset amendment. He said the department would work to remove the expiration date in future sessions of the Legislature.

Assembly Bill 496 would permit an increase in the sales tax by .15 percent, if approved by two-thirds of the Clark County Commission.

Callaway said he thinks a majority of the commission will support the increase.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie and police chiefs from neighboring cities testified earlier this month that the officers the tax increase would fund would reduce the crime rate.

Callaway said the tax increase would allow Metro to retain 300 officers.

The downturn in the economy has reduced revenue from the property and sales taxes, and that is a key part of the department’s funding.

Callaway said Friday that the increased tax would generate about $30 million in its first fiscal year and $35 million to $40 million in fiscal 2015.

The bill will next go to the full Senate for consideration.

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