Revamped tax petition filed

CARSON CITY — Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle filed a new petition Friday to let voters decide whether to limit property tax increases to 2 percent a year.

The petition to put California Proposition 13 tax limits in the Nevada Constitution is the third filed by Angle since September. The AFL-CIO challenged the accuracy of several words she used in her previous petitions, and Angle withdrew them from consideration.

But this time, the Reno Republican said she, the union and District Judge James Todd Russell agreed on language used in the petition.

“They have stalled us for six months,” Angle said about the AFL-CIO. “We refuse to be bullied by an opponent that has more resources and wants to prevent us from exercising our petition rights in Nevada.”

But AFL-CIO state Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson said approval of the petition would only worsen the real estate crisis in Nevada.

“What they are attempting to do will triple the property tax on a home at a time you can give a house away in Las Vegas,” he said.

Under the petition, property taxes could not be increased by more than 2 percent a year until the home, business or property is sold. Then the property would be taxed at the sale price.

Consequently, the new buyer might pay far more in property taxes than longtime residents of the same neighborhood.

Thompson said Russell decided to use the wording AFL-CIO lawyers proposed for the petition’s 200-word summary only because it better reflects what the petition would do.

“What they wrote wasn’t accurate,” Thompson said.

He hopes people will refuse to sign the petition because it comes at a time when a decline in real estate sales is causing the state to struggle economically.

After filing the petition with the secretary of state’s office, Angle left to begin collecting signatures outside Carson City businesses.

She and her We the People Nevada organization must collect 58,828 valid signatures by May 20, or the petition will not be placed before voters on the November ballot.

Angle failed in 2004 and 2006 to secure enough signatures to place the matter before voters.

While she has “some money” to collect signatures, Angle said she has an e-mail list of 4,000 people who previously expressed an interest in her petition and will call on them to collect signatures.

Information on where petitions will be available may be found at www.wethepeoplenevada.org.

Angle said her petition is particularly important for senior citizens.

“We want to give some hope to seniors that they won’t be taxed out of their homes,” she said.

Angle said she is not discouraged because it took tax rebel Howard Jarvis 15 tries before California voters approved Proposition 13 in 1978.

While a Nevada law limits property tax increases to 3 percent a year on owner-occupied homes and 8 percent on other property, Angle said legislators could change the law at any time.

If voters pass her petition this November and again in 2010, the 2 percent annual limit would be placed in the state constitution. That could not be changed without a vote of the people.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or (775) 687-3901.

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