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County demands $21.5 million refund from state



At the unanimous direction of the Washoe County Commission, Chairman John Breternitz sent a hand-delivered letter to Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall yesterday demanding a refund of $21,497,617.44 from the State of Nevada.

In his letter, Breternitz noted that both the 2007 and 2009 Nevada Legislatures passed laws that diverted local property tax rate from both Washoe and Clark counties to the State of Nevada for its use. His letter noted the recent Nevada Supreme Court decision in the Clean Water Coalition v. The M Resort, which made clear the constitutional prohibition against the enactment of local and special laws. The redistribution of local revenues to the state pursuant to those enactments is a violation of the Nevada Constitution as established by that case. Chairman Breternitz’ letter specifically said:

“It is the duty of county commissioners to act in the best interest of the citizens of their counties and Washoe County taxpayers and citizens were disadvantaged by AB 595 of 2007 and AB 543 of 2009. At its duly noted meeting of June 28, 2011, the Washoe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize me to make this demand for the return of the unconstitutionally diverted Washoe County tax revenues. The County Commission also directed that this letter inform you that Washoe County will withhold payment to the state of any such revenues the County may still hold.”

An attachment to the letter provided a table of diverted revenues for the 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11 fiscal years which totaled $21,497,617.44. The estimated final payment to the state for the 2010-11 fiscal year which will be withheld is $393,000.

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