Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Teachers union challenges tax petition

CARSON CITY – Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle’s petition to further limit increases in property taxes may be nearly 5,000 signatures short in Clark County alone to qualify for the election ballot, according to a teachers union official.

James Penrose, attorney for the Nevada State Education Association, has filed a challenge with the Secretary of State’s Office, saying there were “defects” in the initiative petition to keep it off the November ballot.

Penrose said the petition was not properly certified by those who solicited the signatures. In Clark County, he said 4,992 signatures should be disqualified. And he said the petition only exceeded the number required in that county by about 200 signatures.

Former Assemblyman Don Gustavson, who joined with Angle to push for the petition, said this was the first he has heard about the challenge that was filed Friday. “We will fight it, of course,” said Gustavson of Sparks.

As of Friday, Gustavson said 12 of the 17 counties have verified the signatures on the petition. And the rest of the counties must complete the job by today. He was confident there would be adequate verified signatures of voters.

Angle, who is campaigning against Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio in the GOP primary election, could not be reached for comment. She said earlier that 83,600 signatures have been collected, far more than the required 58,628 statewide. The petition also requires a different percentage of signatures of voters in each county.

The petition would limit property taxes to 1 percent of the base value of the property pegged to fiscal 2003-2004. When the property is sold, the base value may be increased annually only by 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is smaller.

Nevada law presently limits property taxes to increasing 3 percent a year.

Penrose said the association examined 1,045 pages of signatures in Clark County and found the affidavit of the circulator was not notarized on at least 832 pages. “In addition, the vast majority of these affidavits were not signed by the purported circulator or anyone else,” he said.

Most, if not all of these pages contained six or seven signatures, Penrose said. “Thus, at a minimum, approximately 4,992 signatures out of 6,270 signatures in the attached documents were not attested to under oath as required by Nevada law, he said.

He said the same defects were found on the petition in Carson City. Of the 330 pages of signatures, 71 were not properly signed or notarized. Therefore, 518 signatures of the 2,061 submitted must be eliminated.

This petition has also drawn opposition from the Nevada State AFL-CIO.

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