Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Education Initiative Goes to Court

There's certainly been plenty of speculation regarding "the t word" and just how seriously it will be considered in Carson City next spring. But while we wait for that, the Nevada Supreme Court will decide the fate of The Education Initiative. Earlier today, the court heard oral arguments. And believe it or not, progressives wanting real tax reform may (again) have reason to hope.

Justice James Hardesty, however, showed little patience for the game of hypotheticals, questioning how many possible scenarios need to be included in the 200-word description of what the initiative petition would do if enacted.

He questioned whether [anti-Education Initiative lawyer Josh] Hicks’ argument relied on “a hypothetical that the Legislature will or won’t do something with that extra billion bucks.”

“Where does this end,” Hardesty said. “I think these hypotheticals just go on forever.”

The lawyer for the education initiative, Frank Flaherty, also argued Hicks was relying on simple “speculation.”

I've always found the anti's argument as a silly Catch 22. So by obeying the law and abiding by the single subject rule, The Education Initiative is deceptive and violates the law? Seriously, is this their entire case? I'm glad I'm not the only one finding this ludicrous.

The latest credible estimates have shown the initiative capable of raising an additional $800 million if passed. It may ultimately raise as much as $1 billion for Nevada schools. And since it's asking the largest corporations doing business here in Nevada to pay something closer to their fair share, it's polled quite well. As I've suggested before, this may be the real reason why it's being challenged in court.

But at least now, the Nevada Supreme Court has actually heard both sides of this case. And a ruling will likely be issued well before the Legislature wraps up next year. And if the Court decides to overturn Judge James Wilson's ruling that invalidated the initiative, then the Legislature will have to consider it in the 77th session. And if the Legislature fails to approve the proposal within 40 days, the initiative will go directly to voters in 2014.

So now, the ball is really in their Court.

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