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Tax increase foisted on Nevada.

On July 21st, the Nevada state legislature approved "a record $836 million tax increase that hits businesses, casinos and others to fund schools and the state's biannual budget" reported the AP. Each house of the state legislature passed the mammoth tax increase by a two-thirds vote, thereby supposedly averting a constitutional crisis.

Earlier in the month, the Nevada state supreme court--ruling on a suit against the legislature brought by Nevada's liberal Republican governor Kenny Guinn--nullified a provision of the state constitution requiring that all tax increases be approved by a two-thirds supermajority in both houses of the legislature. The court's 6-1 ruling held that this provision conflicted with the legislature's constitutional mandate to "provide for a uniform system of common schools...." Republican legislators obtained a temporary restraining order and prepared an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The supermajority provision, insisted the Nevada high court, was merely a "procedural requirement that is general in nature."

Critiquing the Nevada decision, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh wrote: "If the court is willing to nullify 'general procedural rules' so that it can order the legislature to fund education, why stop at the two-thirds supermajority? What if it turns out that the Legislature can't even get a simple majority for a tax increase? Under the court's reasoning, it should nullify the 50-percent-plus-1 requirement, too...."

The Nevada governor and supreme court conspired to amend the state constitution illegally, defy the will of the electorate, and extort a tax increase from the legislature. To comply with the court's order without ratifying its spurious modification of the constitution, the legislature had to muster a two-thirds majority on behalf of the despised tax plan.

It's safe to assume that other revenue-strapped state governments nationwide will diligently study and eventually copy the strategy used to force a tax increase on Nevada's legislature and electorate.
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Title Annotation:Insider Report
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1U8NV
Date:Aug 11, 2003
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