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Press Release

Nevada spending limits proposal filed


CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - State Sen. Bob Beers, running for governor next year, filed paperwork Monday for a proposed constitutional change to limit government spending and give Nevada voters the final say on state or local government tax increases.

The Tax and Spending Control, or TASC, proposal was filed with the secretary of state. Backers must collect 83,157 signatures, or 10 percent of the voter turnout in the 2004 election, to get the plan on the 2006 ballot. The plan also would need voter approval in 2008.

Beers, R-Las Vegas, said the signature-gathering effort and election-cycle campaigns probably would require a budget of $4 million to $5 million, and fund-raising efforts haven't started yet. He added both volunteers and hired signature-collectors would be involved in trying to qualify TASC for the ballot.

Asked whether he hoped to bolster his bid for governor by pushing the ballot plan at the same time, Beers said TASC "is more important than who's governor."

While a governor would have at most two four-year terms to try holding down taxes and government spending, "This will permanently take the decision out of the hands of special interests and politicians and put it in the hands of taxpayers," he said.

Beers added that fiscally prudent government entities "will have no problem complying with this. They won't even notice this."

Beers also predicted that voters will understand the proposal. "The polls show it's popular," he said, noting an October survey conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed 58 percent support for the plan.

TASC is similar to Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR. However, voters in that state recently decided to suspend the Tabor spending restrictions.

Under the Nevada proposal, most state and local governments would need voter approval for any new tax or rate increase, extension of an expiring tax or a tax policy change that would produce a revenue gain.

Any increases in state spending would be limited by the percentage changes in the consumer price index and population growth, unless voters allow spending above that level.

The plan also would return excess revenues to taxpayers if those revenues are higher than the constitutional spending limit and the ceilings of new emergency reserve and budget stabilization funds.

Beers introduced three different proposals to impose state spending limits in the Legislature this year, but each failed.