A group of anti-tax protesters led by Chuck Muth on Monday filed their petition to force the tax package — lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval passed to balance the state budget — before the voters next year.
The petition contains the entire text of Senate Bill 483, the omnibus bill that imposed a series of tax changes and increases including the controversial commerce tax on business. It seeks to have the voters repeal the entire measure.
“During the 2014 election campaign, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval never proposed raising over a billion dollars worth of taxes on the people, businesses and tourists of Nevada,” the cover letter attached to the petition states.
The letter, complains that the commerce tax is nothing more than a revamped version of the “margins tax” that voters defeated in the 2014 election and that, in addition, lawmakers and Sandoval increased a laundry list of other taxes in the 108-page bill.
Calling themselves the “we decide coalition,” the proponents charge that the voters of Nevada should have the right to approve or disapprove the tax package.
Officials at the Secretary of State’s office say opponents have until Aug. 31 to file challenges to the petition. The most likely challenge would be that it violates the requirement that initiative and referendum petitions deal with a single subject. The legislation in question contains numerous tax changes.
It imposes a “commerce tax” on gross revenue of any Nevada business that exceeds $4 million with that rate set according to each entity’s business classification.
It also raises the Modified Business Tax the cigarette tax, extends or eliminates sunsets on increased the Local School Support Tax and other levies. Altogether, the law balances the governor’s $7.29 billion General Fund budget by generating nearly $1.3 billion.
If the referendum survives the expected court battles, organizers of the effort will have until next June to raise the necessary signatures to put the issue on the ballot.
They will need 55,234 valid signatures including at least 13,809 in each of Nevada’s four petition districts — the congressional districts in the state.