CARSON CITY, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- A bill for education funding is one step closer to becoming reality, as Assembly Bill 46 is passed by the taxation committee.
AB 46 would add an extra 1/4 percent sales tax and 5 percent property tax to create funding for school repairs and maintenance. Tuesday was a success for the school district, but there's still a long way to go.
"This is an exciting day," said WCSD Director of Government Affairs Lindsay Anderson. "It's a small step in the process but I think we're really excited about the momentum that it has."
Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson said that momentum is a long time coming.
"I've been working with my colleagues for over a year to come up with a good solution to the capitol needs in Washoe County and I believe this bill is that vehicle," Benitez-Thompson said.
She's one of the majority who voted to pass the original version of AB 46. Since the taxes only affect Washoe County, a few members questioned local elected officials for not being more involved in the discussion.
"Clark County folks are willing to help Washoe folks but where are these electeds," said assembly speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. "I'm calling them out."
But Benitez-Thompson said they don't need to be.
"Whether or not the county commissioners way in doesn't matter to me because I know it's right," Benitez-Thompson said.
For her it's personal.
"I've got a daugter in kindergarten in one of these schools and I want to know she's in a safe school," Benitez-Thompson said.
"We have over 200 buildings," WCSD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. "More than a third of them are 50 years old. We have old buildings and we've got to take care of them."
Martinez said taking care of those buildings comes with a steep price tag.
"We have over 300 million dollars of need," Martinez said.
The tax revenues won't pay the entire bill, but Martinez said it's a smart move.
"We're taking advantage of tourism," Martinez said. "We're taking advantage of the economy as it's getting stronger. Our community knows that our buildings need to be invested in otherwise our educations going to suffer."
Anderson says because there could be a cost attached to enacting this bill, it will likely have to make a stop in the ways and means committee before it hits the assembly floor for a vote. If it does get the two-thirds vote it needs, there's no telling what will happen when it gets to Governor Sandoval's desk. He's a supporter of education but also has spoken out against raising taxes.