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Washoe County's Future Financial State Depends on Business Growth

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For the first time in 15 years, Washoe County has a new manager. John Slaughter replaced Katy Simon back in November. Slaughter said his focus right now is the economy. "My message to our departments is hold the line."

Last year was the first time since 2007, the county didn't make any cuts.

During the recession, the county laid off 600 employees.

The good news is the the county added 13 of those jobs back, but that's still only 13 out of 600 positions.

"We'll bring back more jobs slowly, but we'll never get back to where we were in 2007 and 2008," said Slaughter. "Our employees have learned to work in these lean times. They've learned to work smarter, better but we will over time be able to add back."

Slaughter said they are hoping to improve public safety, along with local parks and libraries and when they have more money for those areas, they can hire back even more of those jobs.

I asked Washoe County Chairman David Humke what is holding the county back from full recovery. "Economic development, that's what we need. We try to encourage new business growth. We work with EDAWN constantly. That's the secret to growing the tax base and try not to raise taxes just because we have shortages."

The Business Margin's Tax on this November's ballot could be holding prospective businesses back from coming here. If approved by voters, the measure will raise taxes by 2% on businesses grossing more than $1 million a year. "I think that a long time ago, some smart folks at the legislature said the secret of attracting businesses to a state and induce them to move is the stability of taxation policy."

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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