Another 'Angle' on property tax issue

Gardnerville - The only member of the Nevada Assembly to vote against the Nevada Legislature's 3 percent tax cap, Sharron Angle, R-Reno, met with about 50 Douglas County residents Wednesday to talk about property taxes and what needs to be done to keep them in check.

Similar to California's Proposition 13, her Property Tax Restraint Initiative would limit rates to 1 percent of the value and could not grow by more than 2 percent per year.

"The Legislature did us a favor when they passed the 3 percent tax cap, but AB489 is interim relief. We're not home free," she said. "We need a constitutional guarantee, one the people can approve or remove if they like."

Angle, who has about six years of Legislative experience under her belt, has been stumping for her cause since 1999. She's now stumping for a seat as a U.S. representative in Congress to replace Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., who has said he will run for governor in 2006.

She hopes to get her proposal on the ballot in 2006 through an initiative petition, which is a request by a specified number of voters to submit a constitutional amendment or law to voters for approval or rejection.

"We'll be coming back Sept. 1," she told Douglas residents. "That's the first day by law for the initiative process."

For Wednesday's discussion, Angle was joined by District 39 Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick and Sierra Sage publisher Leonard Semas.

Hettrick said he's not a fan of the initiative petition process, but he's fed up with not getting something passed to limit the growth of government. He wants to build a bigger consensus, however, before submitting anything to the initiative process.

"We must have a constitutional amendment limiting property tax," he said. "We need to limit the government's ability to spend. Otherwise tax increases will go on forever, but if we have two competing initiatives, they will split the vote and neither will pass."

Semas said he wasn't crazy about a Proposition 13 in Nevada, but it would be better than nothing. He would eliminate all property and other taxes, replacing them with a sales tax.

"I prefer a straight freeze on tax increases. We should be working on a long-term solution dealing with tax reform in general, not just property tax," he said.

Property taxes could be curbed by a Proposition 13, but other taxes will increase to make up for the loss. Much like squeezing a balloon, the bubble will pop up somewhere else, he said.

A sales tax would meet the needs of government and be equitable. Tax evasion would be curtailed and the process would be simple, efficient to administer and easy to collect, Semas said.

According to a poll in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in May, 68 percent of Nevadans would vote for a California-style measure to limit property tax growth to 2 percent a year. Twenty percent were opposed and 12 percent were undecided.

"To me, this just says that everyone understands the issue," Angle said in the article. "That they are happy with the Legislature for the immediate property tax relief, but they still want the constitutional guarantee that Prop. 13 provides."

n Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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