Gibbons says two-thirds requirement for taxes working

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., says the tax initiative he authored while in the Nevada Legislature requiring two-thirds of each house to raise taxes is working.

The requirement, which is being blamed for preventing passage of a tax plan to fund the full state and public education budgets, "establishes the ultimate goal of passing good tax policy -- not beating the time clock of the legislative session," he said.

"Attaining a two-thirds majority on a fair and balanced tax policy is not impossible," said Gibbons in an e-mail on the subject.

Gibbons aide Amy Spanbauer said Gibbons isn't certain how he would have voted were he still a member of the Assembly because he didn't sit through the budget hearings or the taxation debates. His wife, Dawn, however, was a member of Ways and Means and was one of four Republican members who did vote for the tax package.

Neither Jim nor Dawn Gibbons could be reached directly. They are in Hawaii on vacation.

Spanbauer said no one could have foreseen the situation lawmakers now face but Gibbons believes the two-thirds requirement was intended to work much the way it did in the Nevada Senate.

The Republican-dominated Senate found two-thirds support for a tax package raising the $860 million needed to balance the budget after a series of compromises over the types of taxes included.

But the Assembly wound up in an impasse.

When the new fiscal year began Tuesday, Gov. Kenny Guinn took the issue to the Nevada Supreme Court, asking the court to order lawmakers to balance the budget. It was the court, in setting a Monday deadline for briefs on the issue, which pointed out that the issue is the difference between the two-thirds needed to pass a tax and the simple majority needed to approve a budget.

It wasn't clear how the court intended to frame the debate or what options it has to try resolve it.


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