Tax Petition on Ballot

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A Nevada version of California's Proposition 13 property tax cap has enough petition signatures to qualify for a spot on Nevada's November ballot, Secretary of State Ross Miller said Thursday.

Miller said a verification process conducted by clerks and registrars in all 17 Nevada counties determined that the We The People plan being pushed by anti-tax conservative Sharron Angle had 64,166 valid signatures. At least 58,628 signatures were needed.

The Nevada State Education Association had complained that there were defects in petitions submitted in Clark County and Carson City which would keep the plan off the ballot since it must qualify in all counties. But Miller found no evidence of law violations in the verification process.

The proposed constitutional amendment would limit property tax increases to 2 percent per year, rather than the current cap of 3 percent for homeowners passed by the Legislature in 2005, until a
property is sold.

Angle, who narrowly lost a Republican primary battle on Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, failed in 2004 and 2006 to get enough signatures for similar tax-cap proposals.

We the People initially turned in 83,600 signatures, and county election officials cut that by nearly 20,000 in their verification process. For larger counties, that involved a random examination of 5 percent of the signatures to ensure they were from registered voters. In smaller counties, all the signatures were checked.

Miller had ordered the verifications after the state Supreme Court's recent ruling that election officials erred in previously rejecting thousands of signatures favoring the plan, in part because some were filed about 20 minutes too late on a May 20 deadline.

The deadline was established by the 2007 Legislature. Angle contended that the new requirement clashed with the Nevada Constitution and her group actually had until June 17 to file the signatures.

The high court agreed, saying the signature verification process should proceed. That process included the signatures filed on May 20 in Las Vegas as well as names submitted on June 17 to election officials in Reno.

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