A district court judge ruled Tuesday that a measure on Nevada’s November ballot to impose a cap on property tax rates is invalid because of flaws in the signature-gathering process.
The ballot measure would impose a property tax system based on California’s landmark Proposition 13 tax-limitation measure of 1978. The base value of a property would be defined as its taxable value for fiscal 2004, with assessment increases capped at 2% annually thereafter until a property is sold or improved.
The Nevada State Education Association, a teachers’ union, filed suit, arguing that many of the signatures submitted by the measure’s backers were invalid.
Senior Judge Charles McGee agreed.
“Illegal steps were taken in gathering tens of thousands of signatures to qualify this initiative; therefore, it was imperative we challenged the effort,” NSEA president Lynn Warne said in a statement.
Backers of the ballot measure were expected to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
“We’re confident the Supreme Court, in handling a challenge, will back Judge McGee’s decision,” Warne said. “There were too many errors and violations for this measure to be on the ballot.”
At this point in the process, the measure will appear on printed ballots. If the high court finds the measure invalid, votes will probably not be counted, a secretary of state spokesman said in a news report.
The Supreme Court last week tossed three other tax-related measures off the ballot for similar reasons. The three measures were reportedly backed by casino owner Sheldon Adelson, with two of them designed to shift tax revenue away from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and another that would have required a two-thirds vote of the people to raise taxes or fees.
The Supreme Court upheld the secretary of state’s decision, backed by a lower court ruling, that many of the affidavits submitted with the signatures supporting of the petition were flawed and that the signatures therefore should not be counted.