Posts Tagged ‘Clean Water Coalition’

Sandoval ‘Extremely Disappointed’ Clark County Suing To Recover Funds Taken By Lawmakers In 2009

By Sean Whaley | 1:34 pm June 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval says he is disappointed that Clark County has decided to sue to recover $102.5 million in property taxes taken by the 2009 Legislature to balance Nevada’s budget, but said the “state is on very solid ground in this case.”

“We’ve been trying to work with Clark County, again, for months,” he said in a Thursday interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television program. “And I was extremely disappointed that they weren’t willing to come to the table to try and resolve this. And those chose to litigate rather than try to work it out.”

Author=User:Avjoska via Wikimedia Commons.

The county submitted a claim for the money to the state Board of Examiners in September 2011 following a Nevada Supreme Court ruling in May 2011 that said the Nevada Legislature improperly took $62 million in 2010 from the Clean Water Coalition fund to balance the state budget. Washoe County submitted a claim for $21.5 million to the state citing the same case.

Negotiations had been under way between the state and Clark County for several months before the lawsuit was filed. Washoe County has not sued to recover the taxes.

“As I say, at the end of the day, I think it would be more prudent, and more reasonable, for the Clark County Commission to work and try to resolve this short of litigation,” Sandoval said. “It doesn’t do any good for the state and counties to be in court.”

Sandoval said he does not believe Clark’s claim, “is anywhere near” $100 million.

“If we have to, we’ll play this out in court and see what the outcome is,” he said.

The Supreme Court Clean Water ruling led to an agreement by Sandoval and a majority of state lawmakers to extend a set of taxes that were set to expire on June 30, 2011, into the current budget to balance the spending plan. The tax extension replaced local revenues Sandoval had originally proposed to use to balance the state budget.

Based on the Clean Water ruling, the two counties decided to seek the return of money used by the 2009 Legislature as well. The Legislature in 2009 required the state’s two largest counties, Clark and Washoe, to give up 9 cents per $100 in assessed valuation collected in property taxes to the state. The actions by lawmakers in 2009 occurred before Sandoval became governor.

“I am disappointed that after months of negotiating, we have not been able to reach an agreement,” Clark County Manager Don Burnette told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a report published June 14.


Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he is extremely disappointed that Clark County decided to sue over the refund request:

062912Sandoval1 :10 and resolve this.”

Sandoval says the dispute should be resolved through negotiation:

062912Sandoval2 :12 be in court.”



Governor Estimates $656 Million Lost In Budget Due To Supreme Court Decision

By Andrew Doughman | 11:54 pm May 26th, 2011

CARSON CITY — The state’s budget just took a $656 million hit, according to members of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s staff.

Following a Supreme Court decision earlier today, the governor convened the press at 11 p.m. to outline his opinion of how the decision effects funding streams used in the state budget.

“The problem is much worse than we thought,” said Dale Erquiaga, the governor’s senior adviser.

Erquiaga, Andrew Clinger and Lucas Folleta, the governor’s budget director and legal counsel respectively, would not speculate as to how they will replace the dollars they assume are lost in the state’s proposed two-year budget.

This morning, the court ruled in the Clean Water Coalition case that the state government could not take $62 million in local revenues to bolster the state budget.

Later this afternoon, Sandoval said he believed the case could have wide-reaching implications for his proposed general fund budget.

“The ruling raises questions about certain assumptions in the proposed executive budget, despite some having been used in the past,” he said in a statement. “As a former federal judge, I am cognizant of the legal issues.  As governor, I am forced to deal with their ramifications and I am responding by reworking the state budget.  I will announce a revised plan on Friday.”

Erquiaga said that the governor has kept legislative leaders appraised of the situation.

Erquiaga also said the governor and his staff plan to work throughout the night to find a solution to replace the lost revenue.

The governor, however, has already announced that he is considering extending taxes that are set to expire June 30. Doing so would bring the state an estimated $712 million, enough to offset the reductions due to the court decision.

In addition to the $62 million, the governor is assuming $594 million in lost revenue.

“The court’s decision forced us with this decision,” Folleta said.

The decision holds that the state cannot siphon money from a local funding stream, thus making the Clean Water Coalition money grab unconstitutional.

The governor’s staff spent the late afternoon and evening evaluating where the money in Sandoval’s budget is coming from and arrived at a “conservative” decision that the court’s ruling could endanger five other revenue sources.

“To take a less conservative approach, if the state were sued, revenue streams will have to be backed out,” Erquiaga said.

In addition to the $62 million lost due to the court’s decision, the governor’s office assumes these revenue sources would be lost if challenged in court:

  • Supplemental account for medical assistance to indigents: $38,427,584

  • Transfer from school districts’ debt service reserves: $247,420,312

  • 4 cent Clark and Washoe counties operating property tax: $52,994,482

  • 2.6 cents in fiscal year 2012 and 2 cents in fiscal year 2013 in Clark and Washoe counties capital projects property tax rate: $30,475,264

  • Room tax dollars: $225,455,400

Marnell, M Resort Files Suit

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:04 pm March 12th, 2010

Via RalstonFlash in two parts:

M Resort Files Suit Over Clean Water Coalition Money

Named as defendants are the Legislature, the Governor, the Treasurer, the Controller and the CWC. Action seeks injunctive and declaratory relief and damages. The plaintiff is asking that if the money put into the CWC is not used for CWC purposes, it is to be returned to those who paid those monies into the CWC.


Marnell:  Actions by Legislature were fundamentally unfair and a breach of an implied contract with all those who were assessed

Anthony Marnell III, who is scheduled to appear tonight on “Face to Face,” said of the suit just Flashed to you:

“Schools, homebuilders, the resort industry, and other businesses as well as not-for-profit organizations have been assessed tens of millions of dollars for a specific project here in Southern Nevada,” Marnell said, “and we were assured that these funds would be used to provide a clean water source for us all. We strongly support funds being used for a sustainable source of clean water now and into the future. However, if this project is deemed unnecessary, then those monies should be returned to the school district, library, and other businesses that paid them, not simply placed into the state’s general fund.”

And this:

“I appreciate that state government is facing a revenue shortage, the magnitude of which has not been seen in this state’s history,” said Marnell. “But so are the schools and businesses, large and small, that contributed to this CWC fund. If the CWC project is deemed to be unnecessary, then those funds should rightfully be returned to those who contributed them. Otherwise, you are setting a precedent of asking people to pay for things that they are not going to receive and moving the money to other unrelated projects in a markedly unfair manner.”

Marnell Threatens to Sue State?

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:02 am March 2nd, 2010

Very interesting indeed.

Ralston just posted and Tweeted a threat-to-sue letter from M Resort attorney Chris Kaempfer to the Clean Water Coalition (and cc’ing Buckley and Horsford among others).

Background:  A bunch of gaming companies including the M Resort contributed to a $62M fund of water connection fees (“Clean Water Coalition”) to be used for a project that is now on hold.  The M is apparently not too happy that the $700K+ it contributed is now going toward hole-patching in the state budget via measures passed during the legislative special session last week.

Other gamers who contributed major sums (also via @RalstonFlash):

Fontainebleu — $1.8 million

Venetian — $1.2 million

Hard Rock — $892K

Caesars — $860k

Planet Hollywood — $806K

Southpoint — $395kK

Encore — $647K

City Center — $362K

Palazzo — $31K

The letter says that the M Resort does not “consent, and will not accept, that those funds can be used for any other purpose than for the specific purpose for which they were intended” and that the purpose of the letter “is to put all on notice that if these monies are in fact used for any other purpose…our client will be constrained to file appropriate action to have those fees returned…”

Ralston has the letter posted.