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Appeal seeks to halt efforts to repeal Gov. Sandoval’s commerce tax

CARSON CITY — Lawyers for a group supporting Gov. Brian Sandoval’s commerce tax filed an appeal Monday in the Nevada Supreme Court seeking to halt efforts to repeal it.

The 53-page appeal filed by attorneys Matt Griffin and Kevin Benson argues a lower judge erred last month when he allowed the referendum to proceed. A group called RIP Commerce Tax led by Nevada Controller Ron Knecht must collect 55,000 signatures by mid-June to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Griffin and Benson represent the Coalition for Nevada’s Future, a group of business interests opposed to the repeal effort. Among other things, they argue the referendum is flawed because it cites only Senate Bill 483 — the bill passed by the 2015 Legislature and signed by the governor — instead of statute. The bill itself contains other taxes and provisions, including administrative procedures for record keeping.

The appeal also argues the referendum fails to tell voters how the potential $60 million annual budget hole created by repealing the tax would be addressed, and said the result is “either new taxes must be raised or expenditures must be cut.”

The commerce tax imposes a levy on businesses that have $4 million or more in annual gross revenue. It was part of a $1.5 billion package of new or extended taxes sought by Sandoval to fund the current $7.4 billion, two-year general fund budget that includes a big increase in public education funding.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Find her on Twitter: @SandraChereb.

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