RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's teachers union has cleared another hurdle in a bid to create a new business tax to help raise money for education, but still must wait for a favorable ruling from the state Supreme Court in order to move forward next month.
The Nevada State Education Association on Tuesday submitted to county election officials across the state more than twice the number of signatures needed — a total of nearly 150,000 — to require next year's Legislature to consider the 2 percent business margins tax.
Carson District Judge James Wilson ruled last month the 200-word description of what the tax would do was deceptive and therefore invalid. But the association is appealing to the state Supreme Court, which plans to hear the case Dec. 5.
Lawyers for those backing the initiative say Wilson's finding that the petition was flawed conflicts with a previous order that said the description was legally sound.
The Nevada AFL-CIO is among other supporters of the proposal that would tax businesses making $1 million or more. Supporters say it would provide as much as $800 million a year for schools.
Critics include the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, including the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Taxpayers Association. They say there is no guarantee the money would be spent on education.
During the 2011 session, some Democrats argued for the tax, but a vote never was taken. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has gone on record against the idea.
Teachers union spokesman Nick Di Archangel said Tuesday the 149,858 signatures were delivered to voter registrar offices throughout the state, including those in Clark and Washoe counties by about 10:30 a.m. They needed a minimum of 72,324 signatures.
If the court sides with the union and enough signatures are found valid by the county registrars, the Legislature would be required to decide in the first 40 days of the 2013 session whether to implement the tax.
If legislators reject the tax, then the matter would be placed before voters in the 2014 general election.