State tax petition moves forward

A Nevada version of California's Proposition 13 property tax cap has enough raw signatures to continue the qualification process for the November ballot, the secretary of state's office said today.

We the People, a group headed by state Senate candidate Sharron Angle, turned in 83,600 signatures in all 17 Nevada counties. Before the question can qualify for the November ballot, election officials now must determine that at least 58,628 of those signatures are valid.

Secretary of State Ross Miller has directed county registrars and clerks to complete the verifications. For larger counties, that involves a random examination of 5 percent of the signatures to ensure they're from registered voters. In smaller counties, all the signatures are checked.

The verification process started after the state Supreme Court's recent ruling that election officials improperly rejected thousands of signatures in support of the plan.

Angle failed in 2004 and 2006 to get enough signatures for similar tax-cap proposals. She appealed to the Supreme Court following a refusal by Miller to accept the signatures on grounds they were filed about 20 minutes too late on a May 20 deadline.

The deadline was established by the 2007 Legislature. Angle contended that the new requirement clashed with the Nevada Constitution and her group actually had until June 17 to file the signatures.

The high court agreed, saying the signature verification process should proceed. That process includes the signatures filed on May 20 in Las Vegas as well as names submitted on June 17 to election officials in Reno.

Angle's proposed constitutional amendment would limit property tax increases to 2 percent per year, rather than the current cap of 3 percent for homeowners passed by the Legislature in 2005, until a property is sold.

Angle, an anti-tax conservative who previously served in the state Assembly, is challenging Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio in the Aug. 12 Republican primary.

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