Spending Curb Plan Nixed By Court

A proposal to curb government spending was stripped Friday from Nevada's Nov. 7 ballot by the state Supreme Court.
The high court also erased several sections of a plan to limit
land seizures by government agencies, but left the rest of that
proposal on the ballot.
Quick decisions on the two plans had been expected, following
Aug. 23 court arguments. Election officials throughout the state
are up against deadlines for getting general election ballots to
printers, so they can be ready for mailing to absentee voters later
this month.
The seven-member court voted unanimously to reject the
government spending plan, known as the Tax and Spending Control or
TASC initiative, saying supporters failed to strictly comply with
mandatory, constitutional rules for ballot questions.
Since TASC proponents were vocal about limiting government
spending, "the circulated petition involves more than a mere
typographical error. It is misleading," the court said.
"It's a political decision," said state Sen. Bob Beers, TASC's
chief backer who recently lost the Republican nomination for
"There's plenty of judicial precedent here within the state to
forgive minor technical errors that have very little impact on the
measure's content," Beers, R-Las Vegas, added.
Beers said he plans to continue his efforts to curb government
growth. He blames public employee unions for the steady increase in
government spending.
The court's decision "is likely to widen the gulf between those
who work for the government and those who don't," Beers said.
"Our out-of-control government unions are going to eat our people
alive if we don't do something about it."
The measure was opposed by Nevadans for Nevada, a union-led
coalition, and the court's ruling was praised by Danny Thompson,
secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO Nevada.
"I think it was the right ruling for the right reason,"
Thompson said. "It didn't comply with the single-subject law and
there were two different versions - and not just a comma out of
place. There were substantive differences."
The government spending plan was modeled on Colorado's Taxpayers
Bill of Rights. It proposed to amend the Nevada state constitution
to limit local and state government spending increases by using a
formula based on the rate of inflation.
Nevada isn't the only place where advocates of smaller
government have sought to pass measures capping state spending.
The Michigan elections board on Friday voted against putting a
measure on the November ballot that would limit state government
spending, agreeing that backers did not collect enough valid
That followed a recent decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to
throw out a proposed petition to reduce growth in government
spending because it lacked enough valid signatures. Oregon and
Montana have similar fall ballot measures.
Justices also had raised questions about the People's Initiative
to Stop the Taking of Our Land, or PISTOL, the initiative aimed at
curbing eminent domain abuses, but in a ruling that included two
partial dissents decided to leave part of it on the ballot.
Proponents of PISTOL, on the ballot as Question 2, say they want
to stop governments from acquiring private land through eminent
domain and then selling the land for private development.
"These guys put on the robes of Solomon and came up with a
win-win decision for everybody," said former judge Don Chairez, a
PISTOL supporter and Republican candidate for attorney general.
"What they took out merely were the footnotes, not a big
concern for me," Chairez added. "They've left the heart - not
allowing Kelo-type taking."
Chairez' said the measure was a reaction to last year's U.S.
Supreme Court decision in Kelo vs. City of New London, which
allowed eminent domain authority to be used to obtain land for
commercial purposes that generate tax revenue.