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Property Tax Reform Might Be on November Ballot in Nevada

2 min readBy: Alicia Hansen

Nevada voters might get to weigh in on property taxA property tax is primarily levied on immovable property like land and buildings, as well as on tangible personal property that is movable, like vehicles and equipment. Property taxes are the single largest source of state and local revenue in the U.S. and help fund schools, roads, police, and other services. changes this November if former state legislators Sharron Angle and Don Gustavson collect enough signatures to qualify an amendmet for the ballot. From Tax Analysts’ State Tax Today (subscription required):

In her fourth attempt to put a Proposition 13-style constitutional amendment on the November 2008 ballot, a former Nevada state lawmaker got permission on February 22 to start collecting voter signatures after a judge required union opponents to suggest language they wouldn’t challenge in court.

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Angle’s proposal would cap the maximum taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. that can be levied on real property at 1 percent of the base value, which is defined as the “taxable value from which the assessed value for the fiscal year 2003-2004 was calculated.” County assessors would determine the base value for property not assessed in that year. Base value increases would be capped at 2 percent per year or the rate of inflationInflation is when the general price of goods and services increases across the economy, reducing the purchasing power of a currency and the value of certain assets. The same paycheck covers less goods, services, and bills. It is sometimes referred to as a “hidden tax,” as it leaves taxpayers less well-off due to higher costs and “bracket creep,” while increasing the government’s spending power. , whichever is lower. The cost of major improvements—except for replacing structures destroyed by a natural disaster—would be added to the base value. The base value would rise to market value when the property is sold to someone other than a spouse, child, or grandchild.

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Citing a 2005 poll indicating that 65 percent of voters approved of the idea, Angle said she is optimistic about the proposal’s chances. “If we can get it on the ballot, it will pass,” she predicted.

Danny Thompson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, said the union remains “adamantly opposed” to the intent of the initiative to protect longtime property owners at the expense of new purchasers.

From the Tahoe Daily Tribune:

This is the third version of the petition the group has filed with the Secretary of State’s office this year. The others were pulled because of errors and challenges by the AFL-CIO to their constitutionality. In addition, the two have tried twice before to get the issue on the Nevada ballot as well as trying in at least three sessions to get the proposed question through the Nevada Legislature.

Angle said the group has made every effort to satisfy the complaints by the union and make changes to the proposed constitutional amendment.

Gustavson said the issue now is that they have less than three months to collect the nearly 60,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot. The deadline is May 20 to submit signatures.

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