CARSON CITY — A judge who knocked a Nevada version of California’s property tax-capping Proposition 13 off the Nov. 4 ballot says advocates of the plan have made a bogus claim that he has a conflict of interest in the case.
In documents filed Thursday with the state Supreme Court, Senior District Judge Charles McGee said We the People Nevada claimed his wife is a longtime employee of the Washoe County School District, but she retired five years ago.
McGee said his wife now works a few hours a month as a reading consultant for the district but her pay “is so minimal as to be of no financial significance.”
The Nevada State Education Association, a teachers union, filed suit to invalidate the petition. McGee held that the plan couldn’t qualify for the ballot because there were too many flaws in affidavits supporting it.
Attorney Joel Hansen, representing We the People Nevada, then raised the conflict issue, saying the judge’s impartiality might be questioned given his wife’s job status.
McGee’s response was included in documents filed by NSEA attorneys who argued that Hansen’s claim was “entirely baseless” and his bid to have McGee’s ruling set aside should be rejected because it’s a time-wasting move “that can charitably be described as misinformed.”
The attorneys also said Nevada’s secretary of state already has told local election officials to remove the plan from their ballots, in line with McGee’s ruling.
Election officials have sent their ballots, minus the tax-cap question, to printers, attorneys Mike Dyer and Jim Penrose added. The clerks must have absentee ballots ready for mailing to voters living outside the state by Thursday.
The proposed constitutional amendment would limit property tax increases to 2 percent per year for all property until a property is sold. The current cap, set by the Legislature in 2005, is 3 percent per year for owner-occupied homes and 8 percent for other property, including commercial.
Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who has headed the We the People Nevada effort, has tried for years to get a property tax limit into the Nevada Constitution. She has argued the cap needs constitutional protection because the Legislature could revoke its cap anytime it wished.