Sandoval backs another tax increase

Victor Joecks

Do you remember in Gov. Brian Sandoval's State of the State speech where he said that "Nevada’s employers cannot afford higher taxes, and I will not support them"?

Even if you do, apparently he doesn't. This is becoming a depressing theme.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday that he will support legislation to levy a 0.25 percentage point increase in the sales tax rate in Clark County to hire more police officers.

Sandoval said that because voters in Clark County approved the tax in advisory question in 2004, then he will not stand in the way of their wishes and oppose a tax increase.

The sales tax rate in Clark County already is 8.1 percent and would increase to 8.35 percent with the quarter-cent police tax.

And will this money lead to more cops? Nope, just higher pay for the ones already on staff.

Now, Metro brass have dropped even the pretense that the second quarter-cent tax hike would be used to hire additional officers. They're asking for this new tax to go into the department's general fund, where it will help finance pay and benefits for current officers. Or, as Metro CFO Karen Keller tells it, "We need a combination of an additional quarter cent as well as the flexibility in how we can spend those funds." …

1,998 Metro employees took home more than $125,000 in pay and benefits in 2011 or that 852 of those employees topped $150,000 in compensation. That's according to official payroll records received by NPRI and available at

And it gets better. Las Vegas Metro currently spends $1.8 million a year for numerous police officers and other employees to … work for their unions.

Collective-bargaining agreements throughout Clark County — including its cities and public entities — explicitly give government labor unions almost 70,000 hours of paid-leave time each year to conduct union business, a Nevada Journal investigation found. …

The most lucrative contract is between the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, which receives over one million tax dollars and 15,500 hours a year for union members to perform union work. Las Vegas also pays its Metro Supervisors Association and its Police Protective Association, Civilian Employees, Inc., more than $430,000 a year and $300,000 a year, respectively, for union employees to do work for their private organizations.

To conclude, Sandoval supports raising taxes so government employees making over $150,000 a year can receive a pay increase and a government agency can continue subsidizing its employee unions to the tune of $1.8 million a year. Good grief.