Suit filed in Carson City to block petition asking voters to invalidate 2015 tax package

With less than an hour left before the 5 p.m. Monday deadline, the Coalition for Nevada’s Future filed suit in Carson City District Court to block the petition that seeks to have voters block the 2015 legislative tax package.

The petition was filed Aug. 10 by anti-tax protesters led by Chuck Muth challenging the entire text of Senate Bill 483, the omnibus bill imposing a series of tax changes and increases designed to generate nearly $1.3 billion to fund education and balance the state budget for the coming two years.

Calling themselves the “We Decide Coalition,” the group seeks to push the entire package before a binding vote in next year’s General Election.

The brief filed Monday by the Coalition for Nevada’s Future charges that the petition violates the law limiting any petition put before voters to a single subject and argues that the Description of Effect — the 200 word preamble designed to help voters understand what it does — is inaccurate and incomplete.

“The petition is invalid because the petition contains multiple subjects in violation of NRS 295.009,” the brief argues.

And it says the Description of Effect “is incorrect and misleading and doesn’t adequately inform voters of the petition’s effect.”

The brief by Matt Griffin and Kevin Benson asks for injunctive and declaratory relief blocking the petition backers from collecting signatures to put it on the ballot.

The brief says the petition would repeal legislation that contains at least nine different subjects instead of a single subject. Those include the controversial commerce tax, an adjustment to the state’s payroll tax, cigarette taxes, an increased business tax and increased business filing fees, elimination of sunsets on a variety of other tax levies and changes to the Net Proceeds of Mines, highway fund and funding of specialty courts.

It charges that the various parts of the legislation, “are not all functionally related and germane to each other or to any identifiable single purpose of the petition.”

The Description of Effect on the bill, according toe the lawsuit, “merely lists the contents of that bill without explaining its actual effects.”

It states that the description doesn’t say how much it increases taxes by or what the money is for.

Opponents argue that Nevada voters should have the absolute right to approve or disapprove this and any other tax hikes.

Neither the Secretary of State nor the Attorney General’s office had received the lawsuit as of the close of business Monday.

If the referendum survives the court battle, organizers will have until next June to raise the signatures necessary to put the question on the ballot. They will need 55,234 signatures of valid, registered Nevada voters including at least 13,809 in each of the state’s four petition districts — which are Nevada’s congressional districts.


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