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Quarter-cent sales tax for police will be discussed by Legislature

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Updated: 2/02/2013 1:05 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- In 2004, voters approved a half-cent sales tax on Clark County taxpayers to spend on law enforcement. Half of that increase (quarter of a cent) has been used by Metro.

The tax has generated more than $400 million for Metro and has funded about 530 officers.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie will seek the Legislature’s approval to collect the other quarter-cent sales tax. He says the revenue will be used solely to fund police officer positions.
Gillespie plans to make visits to Carson City to lobby for the tax.

“People I have talked with tell me we have a very good case of getting it approved,” Gillespie said in a news conference in mid-January.

North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City departments would also benefit from the tax. North Las Vegas currently has less than 1.2 officers per 1,000 residents while the national average is just over 2 officers per 1,000.

While increasing a tax in current economic times will pose some problems, Gillespie’s department faces a deficit of nearly $50 million. The economy has already cost Metro some 230 officer positions, primarily through attrition. It may lose about 120 more officers in the coming year unless it can get approval to help with its budget issues.

Other law enforcement departments in Clark County have faced similar budget issues.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and every southern Nevada municipality as well as Clark County officials have expressed support for the additional tax.

The final decision to approved the tax is up to the Legislature. Putting it into effect would be up to the Clark County Commission.

Nevada State Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-North Las Vegas) has said she will bring the issue up for discussion during the session that begins Monday in Carson City.

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