Education Tax Hike Bill Can Be Abridged in NV

     CARSON CITY, Nev. (CN) – The Nevada Supreme Court revived a teacher’s union ballot initiative that aims to raise taxes on businesses for million-dollar education drive.
     The Nevada State Education Association wants the state to impose a 2 percent tax on businesses that make more than $1 million a year.
     Hoping to stop the bill in its tracks, Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs challenged the initiative sponsored by the Education Initiative political action committee.
     Nevada law requires a ballot initiative to provide in 200 words or less a description of the effect of the initiative. The Protect Nevada Jobs committee claimed that the PAC’s initiative sought to enact a multisubject law, in violation of Nevada’s single-subject rule.
     Its complaint, filed in Carson City District Court, also claimed that the PAC provided a misleading description of effect.
     Though a judge found that the single-subject challenge failed, it cited the description as a reason to block the secretary of state from presenting the initiative to the Legislature.
     The Nevada Supreme Court found no problem with the description Thursday, saying it would be impossible for a 200-word description to fully encompass every possible effect of the initiative.
     “A description of effect need not articulate every detail and possible effect that an initiative may have,” Justice Jim Hardesty wrote for a unanimous seven-member panel. “Instead, given that these descriptions are utilized only in the early, signature-gathering phase of the initiative process and that descriptions of effect are limited to 200 words, they need only provide a straightforward, succinct, and nonargumentative summary of what an initiative is designed to achieve and how it intends to reach the goals.”
     Opponents of the initiative argued that its description should warn voters that the tax hike may not actually increase education funding. They said the description should also inform voters how much revenue the new tax would generate.
     But the high court said the description’s scope could not reach this level of hypothetical. Requiring too much in the summary could “obstruct” the initiative process, according to the ruling.
     The initiative now heads to the state Legislature, which has 40 days to act.
     Gov. Brian Sandoval has said he opposes the initiative.
     Without state approval, it goes to the voters in 2014.

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