Nevada Court Battle Over Room Taxes

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Proponents of two ballot initiatives that ask voters to reallocate hotel room tax dollars away from the Las Vegas Convention and Authority say municipalities challenging the proposals are violating Nevada law by doing so.

The School Funding Solutions Ballot Advocacy Group, headed by former state Treasurer Bob Seale, responded to a lawsuit filed by the convention authority and every municipality in Clark County to stop the ballot questions.

In a filing in Carson City District Court, Seale's group said Nevada law prohibits government entities from using taxpayer dollars to support or oppose a ballot question.

The convention authority, joined by the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite and Clark County, sued to block the petition.

Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox has scheduled a hearing on the lawsuit for April 18.

Seale is circulating two petitions that he hopes will qualify for the November ballot. If approved, the initiatives would transfer room taxes from tourism support to help fund either public education or public safety improvements.

Representatives from most of the major casino corporations oppose the plan. They argue that money used to market Las Vegas shouldn't be taken away at a time when massive expansion is taking place on the Strip and a national economic downturn is curtailing U.S. tourism.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)