Local Governments Exaggerate Growth

New census data says Southern Nevada local governments have exaggerated their growth to the tune of about three years worth of our current growth rate.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports the story

The Census Bureau says the Metro area hit 1.866-million last June 30, vs. local government estimates (passed up to the State Demographer before becoming “official”) that had us at just under 2-million. The difference is more than six percent, equal to three years of our current pace of 2% annual growth.

Cities and Counties in Nevada are incented to exaggerate growth because each jurisdiction’s population is a primary factor in determining how much of the state’s “Consolidated Tax Distribution” they get.

CTX, as it is known in government finance circles, is a complex formula that divvies up a group of state taxes including the car registration tax, liquor taxes, and cigarette taxes.

If Henderson, for example, has more people than North Las Vegas, then Henderson gets a bigger piece of the pie and North Las Vegas gets a smaller piece of the pie. As a result, all local governments exaggerate. Every ten years, they have to drop down to the official census count.

The unfortunate side effect of exaggerating growth is that anti-family lawmakers point to the exaggerated population counts and claim they need to raise taxes on existing Nevada families in order to provide government services to pretend people.

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