CARSON CITY – The Nevada State Education Association announced Monday it has more than twice the signatures needed to require the Legislature to consider adopting a 2 percent business margins tax.
The teachers union plans to turn in 149,000 signatures today at election offices across the state. The union needs 72,324 valid signatures for the Education First initiative petition.
But even with the signatures, the union still faces an appearance before the Nevada Supreme Court.
District Judge James Wilson of Carson City last month ruled the petition did not properly inform voters it would raise as much as $800 million a year in taxes with no guarantee the money would be used for public education. The union appealed that decision.
Josh Hicks, attorney for Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, filed the lawsuit alleging the petition requires even failing businesses to pay the tax.
Members of the committee include the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Taxpayers Association.
During court appearances, Hicks repeatedly argued there is no guarantee the tax will increase education funding because legislators could shift the money now spent on public education to other state government budget items.
If the Supreme Court sides with the judge, the petition – and all signatures collected by the union – will be invalid.
But, if the court sides with the union and enough signatures are found valid by the county registrars, the Legislature would be required to decide in the first 40 days of the 2013 session whether to implement the tax.
If legislators reject the tax, then the matter would be placed before voters in the 2014 general election.
During the 2011 session, some Democrats argued for the margins tax, but a vote never was taken on the tax plan. Gov. Brian Sandoval has gone on record against the margins tax.
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