Beers unsure if tax initiative will reach ballot

Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, said Tuesday he doesn't know whether his Tax and Spending Control initiative will get enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

TASC seeks to limit growth of government at all levels to no more than population growth plus inflation. The only way to get around that cap would be a vote of the people that could only be held during a regular November general election.

Beers, former state Sen. Ann O'Connell and other supporters have just six days to turn in their petitions to the 17 counties for verification. The deadline for all petitions is June 20.

To qualify for the ballot, an initiative petition must have 83,184 signatures of registered Nevada voters.

Asked whether they'd make it, Beers said: "I don't know. I suspect we won't know until the secretary of state adds them up. It'll be close."

The petition signatures are submitted to the clerk in each county where they are collected. Those clerks then compare the names to their lists of registered voters and tally the number of valid signers. That information is then submitted to the Secretary of State's elections division which totals valid signatures statewide to determine whether the initiative qualifies.

TASC supporters recently asked a Clark County district judge to extend the deadline arguing that opponents of the proposed constitutional amendment were interfering with their efforts to collect signatures. Beers charged they were "screaming and shouting" and generally driving potential signers away.

Southern Nevada's labor unions organized teams to follow TASC volunteers to different places and urge people not to sign. Opponents have argued the amendment would be an impossible burden on governments, which would have to wait up to two years and ask voters for minor increases in even small fees such as swimming pool fees, fishing licenses and bus passes.

Judge Sally Loehrer issued an order indicating the harassment was occurring from both sides. She ordered them to get along and not to interfere with each other.

But she refused to extend the time for collecting signatures for TASC.

Beers said they will continue collecting signatures right up until the deadline: "We have everybody working double and triple time so if we don't make it, it won't be for lack of trying."

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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