Question of tax hike to fund UMC won't go to voters - 8 News NOW

Question of tax hike to fund UMC won't go to voters

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  • UMC financial woes prompt tax hike talk

    UMC financial woes prompt tax hike talk

    Monday, June 2 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-06-02 23:34:18 GMT
    University Medical Center has been in financial trouble for years and it's only getting worse. Clark County commissioners are getting ready to decide what should be done to help the financially struggling hospital. Solutions could include a property tax hike.More>>
    University Medical Center has been in financial trouble for years and it's only getting worse. Clark County commissioners are getting ready to decide what should be done to help the financially struggling hospital. Solutions could include a property tax hike.More>>

LAS VEGAS -- It turns out the public will not have a say about a proposed increase in property taxes.

Clark County Commissioners decided they are going to come up with a plan on their own on how they can help fund University Medical Center, which could include raising property taxes.

The commissioners fear the people of Clark County will vote down any tax increase and that no legislator will help them on the state level.

The commissioners say they need to find new ways to bring more revenue to the hospital or it is going to be millions of dollars in the hole.

A hotly contested debate took place Tuesday about the issue at the commission meeting. Each commissioner giving his or her ideas of what the commission should do to close the budget shortfall.

The county funds UMC and the commissioners say they need to prepare to give the hospital more funding, if the hospital continues to lose money like it has in the past. The county usually gives UMC $41 million a year.

This year, they got nearly $100 million. Commissioner Steve Sisolak brought up the idea of asking voters’ opinions about a tax increase with an advisory ballot measure. It was quickly denied.

"We're the only county hospital in the U.S, if I remember correctly, that doesn't have a dedicated revenue stream. But putting in an advisory question to advise us to do what we already have the authority to do just doesn't make sense to me," County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said.

County Manager Don Burnette told the commissioners the underlying problem is property taxes are too low. Now that housing prices are rising, the property tax cap doesn't allow the taxes to keep up.

The county is collecting about $115 million less than it did back in 2009, before the recession.

It is not clear how much of a spike in taxes it would take to close the budget gap. The county wants to raise about $30 million and they want to do it by this time next year.

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