New Margin Tax Initiative Petition Pushed By Teachers Union Challenged In Court

CARSON CITY – The Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs has filed a new lawsuit against a revised margin tax initiative petition sought by the Nevada State Education Association for violating a prohibition requiring such measures to focus on a single subject.

The teachers association filed the revised petition in August after Carson City District Judge James Wilson found the original measure seeking to levy a 2 percent tax on companies making gross revenues in excess of $1 million a year violated the single subject requirement for initiative petitions. The revised measure removed the provision found to violate the rule.

The new tax would generate an estimated $800 million a year for public education.

But Josh Hicks, the attorney representing the committee, said that the description of effect for the new initiative is still deceptive and though rewritten, continues to violate the single subject rule.

Even after removing several portions of the original Education Initiative that the court found violated Nevada Law, “the fact still remains that the union’s second attempt to pass a margin tax on Nevadans fails to mention that their petition does not guarantee that education spending will increase at all if the tax is enacted,” the committee said in announcing the new legal challenge.

The very real possibility exists that because of this petition, large-scale government spending could increase in other areas as a result of the revenue raised by this new tax, the committee said in the statement.

“Nevada law prohibits misleading voters about the purpose of an initiative petition,” Hicks said. “This new petition (in essence a second version) is solely designed to increase general tax revenues and general government spending by taking advantage of voters’ feelings about education in order to gain enough signatures to qualify and eventually pass a billion dollar plus tax increase.”

The teachers union said when the revised petition was filed that it was confident that it would withstand any legal challenge.

The teachers union is now collecting the signatures need to take the proposal to the Legislature in 2013. The group has until Nov. 13 to collect can collect 72,352 signatures to take the measure to lawmakers. The Legislature would then have 40 days to approve the proposal or it would go to the voters in 2014.

The new challenge will be considered in Carson City District Court.