Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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Property tax restraint appears headed for election ballot

CARSON CITY – Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle’s constitutional amendment to limit property taxes is closer to being added to the November ballot.

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled today that signatures on the initiative petition submitted through Thursday, June 17, should be accepted as valid. A constitutional amendment setting the deadline at June 17 supercedes a law that established a May 20 deadline, the court said.

Matt Griffin, deputy secretary of state in charge of elections, said he will order counties on Thursday to start counting and verifying the signatures to see if petition backers have the required 58,628.

Angle, who is a candidate for state Senate against Majority Leader Bill Raggio in the GOP primary in Washoe County, could not be reached for comment.

But former Assemblyman Don Gustavson, a partner with Angle in the initiative, called the Supreme Court decision a victory and said the initiative has an “excellent” chance of qualifying. He said the group has already written the explanations for the election ballot in favor of the amendment that would limit property taxes to 1 percent of the base value of the property.

The base property tax value would be pegged to fiscal 2003-2004. When the property is sold, the base value may increase annually by 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is smaller.

Initially, Gustavson said the group had gathered enough signatures in all counties, except Clark, by May 20. Clark County refused to accept the petitions because they were filed minutes after the May 20 deadline.

The petition must have 10 percent of the signatures of registered voters in each of the 17 counties to qualify for the ballot. It would have to be passed in the 2008 and 2010 elections to become part of the state constitution.

Angle and her We The People Nevada organization filed suit after Clark County refused to accept the signatures.

The Supreme Court granted her petition for a writ of mandamus ordering the county clerks to accept those signatures submitted by June 17 rather than May 20.

The Nevada AFL-CIO and the Nevada State Education Association, which opposed the petition, were two of the 13 groups that submitted friend of the court briefs to the Supreme Court. The AFL-CIO and education association opposed the petition setting the new property tax.

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