Nevada cities North Las Vegas and Henderson have been ranked #2 and #3 in the Top 5 fastest growing of the 1990s by the Census Bureau. The 2000 census report rated the Las Vegas metropolitan area as the #1 fastest growing area (83.3% to 1,563,282.) Between 2000 and 2002, Las Vegas gained 6%, North Las Vegas gained 17.7% and Henderson jumped 17.3%. From July 1, 2003 to July 1, 2004, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked North Las Vegas as the #3 fastest growing city. Growth can be good and then it can bad as we are all facing pains in transportation but it seems that the police have been feeling the effects as well. Or have they?
By a narrow margin in 2004, the voters approved an initiative to raise the sales tax to 7.75% in order to hire and equip more police officers with another possible .25% increase possible in 2009. The initiative was later approved by state, county officials and signed into law by Governor Kenny Guinn earlier this year. This month, the new sales tax went into effect which raises the annual cost of living but for a good cause.
The Las Vegas area had 852,732 residents in 1990, nearly 1.6 million in 2000 and our current estimate is 1.8 million. My problem with this raise in tax is that the funds for the police already come from our state sales tax. This value climbs as our population does as more spending occurs exponentially with growth. If I was one of the 1 million people that moved to Las Vegas in the last 15 years, I probably went shopping to fill my home and taxes on those items filled state coffers. Yet, I have difficulty understanding how a .25% increase helps with growth when sales do that. I also find it intriguing that after this new tax went into place, a new contract proposal from Sheriff Bill Young to the police union assures most officers a 10% annual raise. Which instead of being used to hire new officers will deplete that tax increase faster than Courtney Love goes through needles.