Casinos Urge Nevada Court to Speed Appeal Over Tax Initiative

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The casino industry has appealed a district judge's ruling that allowed the teachers' union to proceed with an initiative petition to raise the state's gambling tax.

The Nevada Resort Association and Las Vegas Sands Corp. on Friday asked the Nevada Supreme Court for a speedy handling of its appeal over Senior Judge Miriam Shearing's April 3 ruling that the petition was legal.

Resort association attorney Todd Bice urged the court to rule before May 20, the deadline for the Nevada State Education Association to submit signatures to the secretary of state's office.

To qualify the measure for the November ballot, the teachers' union must gather the signatures of 58,628 registered voters. Voters would have to pass the initiative this year and again in 2010 for it to become part of the Nevada Constitution.

"Immediate consideration of this appeal is sought, in part, because the resort association believes that the proposed description of effect is particularly deficient," Bice wrote in the motion.

"It ... omits disclosing the initiative's most serious effect - that the state's education budget for each biennium will be voided for any violation of the initiative's provisions," he added.

Bice also argued the petition contains more than one subject because it would raise taxes, earmark revenues for teacher salaries and "student achievement," and mandate the entire education budget be voided if legislators consider using the money for other purposes.

State law requires that a petition be limited to a single subject.

Lynn Warne, president of the teachers' association, said Friday she has not discussed with her group's attorneys whether to oppose
an expedited handling of the case.

The teachers' association began gathering petition signatures this past week, Warne said.

Under the initiative, the gambling tax on casinos grossing more than $1 million a month would rise from 6.75 percent to 9.75 percent.

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

AP-NY-04-12-08 1737EDT