Letters for October 13, 2016
Tax dollars at work
Re “Pot tale of the week” (Upfront, Sept. 29):
I was stationed in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, from September 1965 until December 1966. Like many of my fellow 173rd Airborne troopers, I bought what looked like Marlboro cigarette packs from a little old lady in the Ville. They were perfect, including the little red tear-off strip. It was the best weed I’ve ever smoked. Each joint looked like a cigarette, no twisted ends. Although I didn’t smoke tobacco, there was always a Marlboro pack on the top shelf of my footlocker—even during inspections.
Several years ago, I met a friend of a friend who had been high up in the Army MP command in Saigon at that time. I asked him about the Marlboro Weed. He laughed and told me it was a CIA project. The idea was to get Charlie stoned so he wouldn’t plant booby traps. My first marijuana was supplied to me by the US Government. Pretty cool, aye?
Tourism dollars at work
Re “Pot tale of the week” (Upfront, Oct. 6):
Reno is many things, including a tourist destination. If Question Two passes at this November’s polls and pot use for those ages 21 and over is legalized, I hope more tourists come for that reason. Once here, they’ll be able to partake of our entertainment offerings and outdoor recreation, as well. Recreational marijuana use doesn’t personally interest me much, but I’m voting yes on Question 2—and with much more enthusiasm than for a presidential candidate.
Sales tax dollars at work
Re “Stop making cents” (cover story, Sept. 22):
The feature by Dennis Myers was very informative. But there is more to the story of how sales tax became a monster.
In 1981, the “tax shift” legislation was enacted, which was Nevada’s response to California’s Prop. 13. The law limited tax levies to $3.64 per $100 of assessed valuation. (The state constitutional limit is $5.) So we ended up with more acronyms for sales tax—BCCRT and SCCRT, for basic and supplemental city/county relief tax to “make up” for reduced property tax revenues.
In 1991, we had another tax shift of sales tax revues from (chiefly) Washoe County to Clark County called Fair Share, or Assembly Bill 104, which lost us about $17 million when it was enacted. But the legislature gave us “make up” revenues—an amalgam of five resources, including real property transfer tax and motor vehicle privilege tax (MVPT), now called governmental services tax, which now plagues us at registration renewal time. Sadly, the “make up” revenues have not come close to making up the lost sales tax revenues in Washoe County or its political subdivisions.
Since then, a series of measures involving caps and abatements further stultified property tax revenues which otherwise would have (should have) resulted in robust growth during the real estate boom.
The formation of redevelopment districts, the creation and use of STAR bonds, and a batch of well orchestrated tax aversion strategies by other “stakeholders” (notably not students), conspired to further choke off local governments—including the school district’s—resources. And don’t even get me started on our state’s practice of depreciating improvements to real property—the only state to do so.
I grew up in upstate New York where property taxes are huge. That’s what supports their schools and damn, they’ve got good schools.
Editor’s note: Ms. Thomas is former finance director for the Sparks city government.
Re “Classic choice” (Elections, Oct. 10):
We reported that school board candidate Angie Taylor won the district E seat when her opponent withdrew. Actually, she won it when she received more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary election. We’re sorry for any confusion.