Ballot plan signatures filed

By: Brendan Riley AP
By: Brendan Riley AP

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Backers of two initiative petitions that would cap revenue for the Las Vegas tourism authority and generate more funds for education or public safety on Monday filed signatures aimed at getting the plans on the November ballot.

Also filed on Monday, a day ahead of a Tuesday deadline for signatures, were names of supporters for a proposal requiring a
two-thirds vote of Nevadans, instead of a simple majority, to approve any tax-raising ballot questions.

Bob Seale, a former state treasurer, legislator and state Republican Party official, said signatures for the revenue-capping plans were filed as required with county election officials throughout the state.

Former state Controller Steve Martin said the same process was followed for the tax-restricting plan signatures. Critics of all three proposals say their principal backer is Las Vegas Sands Corp. owner Sheldon Adelson.

Under the revenue-cap plans, voters would cast ballots this election year and again in 2010 to decide whether to revise the Nevada Constitution so that some Clark County room tax revenues could be reallocated for public education or public safety programs.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority would receive its current allocation of about $200 million per year, plus annual increases to cover inflation.

Any funds above that amount would be forwarded to the state's distributive school fund under one petition, or to pay for public safety improvements under the other petition. The shift would only apply to room taxes in Clark County around Las Vegas.

To qualify for the ballot, proponents needed to collect 58,836 valid signatures for each petition by May 20. Seale said each plan had more than 111,000 signatures.

Martin's tax-restricting plan had nearly 123,000 signatures. All three plans now must undergo a signature-verification process.

All three petitions moved ahead after winning favorable District Court rulings. Those rulings were appealed to the state Supreme Court, which plans a July 1 hearing on them.

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

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