Superintendent Martinez talks AB46
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The Washoe County school repair bill, or Assembly Bill 46, has dominated the headlines for months. There've been countless meetings and discussions on the bill that would raise the county's sales tax by a quarter of a percent and increase property taxes by five cents. These tax hikes would bring about 20 million dollars a year in revenue to the district for its aging schools. Unlike other districts, Washoe doesn't have a sustainable source of revenue for capital projects.
The bill has been controversial-some might even say divisive. Most people in the county recognize the need to keep the schools in good condition, but some have issues with how this whole process has unfolded. Here's a quick recap of what has happened so far: The legislature could not get the required 2/3 vote to pass the bill, so it handed it off to the Washoe County Commission for approval. For the bill to pass, 4 out of the 5 commissioners will need to vote in favor of it. The commissioners must decide by the end of this year.
Some of the most prominent arguments against the bill include its violation of the statutory cap on property tax rates, the districts poor management of bond expenditures for capital projects and the possibility that this will set a precedent of the legislature delegating the authority to raise taxes to local commissions instead of following the standard legislative process.
But now to explain why this bill should go through, here's Superintendent Pedro Martinez.