SAN FRANCISCO - Nevada's statewide teachers' union filed suit this week in an effort to force a property tax limit measure inspired by California's Proposition 13 off November's ballot.
The measure would impose a property tax system based on California's landmark 1978 tax-limitation measure. 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.
"Ad valorem real property tax shall not exceed 1% of property's 'base value,' excluding taxes to pay for existing bonded indebtedness and future bonded indebtedness approved by two-thirds of taxing district voters," according to a description of the initiative filed with the secretary of state's office.
As a constitutional amendment, voters would have to approve it in November and then again in November 2010.
Earlier this month, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller certified that the measure had met the requisite hurdles to certify it for the ballot
The Nevada State Education Association's lawsuit, filed Monday in district court, alleges that many of the signatures submitted by the measure's backers were invalid.
"Tens of thousands of signatures submitted are not valid because the law was violated in the signature-gathering process," NSEA president Lynn Warne said in a statement. "For example, hundreds of pages submitted were blank and had not been completed or notarized by anyone, which invalidates any signature on the page."
The measure required 58,628 signatures to qualify for the ballot, with a minimum number from all 17 counties, based on population.
The teachers' union argues that there are an insufficient number of signatures from seven counties, including Clark County, which is by far the largest.
The ballot measure, if successful, would have a financial impact on state and local governments, the fiscal analysis division of the state's Legislative Counsel Bureau reported to the secretary of state, adding that the division has not yet completed the analysis of the extent of that impact.
The NSEA, for its part, is pursuing a statutory initiative to increase hotel room taxes in Nevada's two largest counties to increase funding available for public education funding. If they gather the required signatures, the measure would be presented to the Legislature in 2009. If it does not enact the measure, it would go to the voters in 2010.