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July 19, 2003

Challenge to Nevada Court Decision Rejected; Justices to be Targeted

Yesterday, the Las Vegas Review Journal wrote, "A panel of seven federal judges . . . dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Nevada Supreme Court that set aside a state constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority vote on new taxes." In a separate article, the paper noted that a coalition of political activists, upset with the Nevada Supreme Court's decision, "on Thursday began a campaign to recall six of the high court's seven justices." The San Francisco Chronicle has also been following the case closely. If you like your news reports with a slightly more liberal slant, you can read the Las Vegas Sun's take on both the court's decision as well as the efforts of the anti-tax coalition.

July 15, 2003

WSJ's OpinionJournal Opines on Nevada Case

The Review & Outlook column of the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal says that "compared to their Supreme Court, Nevada's sin industries are looking downright respectable . . . Nevada's justices came up with a real doozy: Essentially they ordered state legislators to violate the state constitution they have sowrn to uphold . . . At least the state's gamblers and prostitutes can claim to be working within the law." The piece is well-worth reading.

Federal Challenge to Nevada Supreme Court Case

The Nevada Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that one Constitutional requirement (in this case the funding of education) takes precedence over another Constitutional requirement (that tax increases be passed by a 2/3, or super, majority) has been challenged in the United States District Court for Nevada. The suit was filed by the Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence on behalf of Nevada taxpayers. According to today's Las Vegas Review-Journal, a restraining order "put a temporary halt to the Legislature's move to raise taxes." For precise details about the suit as well as citations to the legal arguments, readers can follow the case at Eugene Volokh's website. [See the 6:06 pm entry, plus earlier ones, for Monday, July 14, 2003] Because of the importance of this case to taxpayers everywhere, we will update Growls periodically with the status of the case; the first Growls entry about this decision was on July 12, 2003.

July 12, 2003

Nevada Supreme Court to Taxpayers: Nyet!

In what the Las Vegas Review-Journal called a "stunning decision," the Nevada Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, July 10, that only a simple majority of the state's legislature is needed "to pass record tax increases to balance the state budget and fund education." A press release from the National Taxpayers Union notes that in 1996, citizens passed a constitutional initiative that "requires either a 2/3 "supermajority" vote of the State Legislature or a majority vote of the electorate in order to increase state taxes." According to the newspaper, "The justices ruled that the need to fund public schools, another constitutional requirement, took precedence over the need to approve tax increases by a two-thirds supermajority." Apparently, the justices consider themselves uber-lelgislators. In an editorial, the same Review-Journal wrote that the Court, "drooled all over the state Constitution, wadded it up and tossed it in the trash. UCLA Law School professor Eugene Volokh, at his website The Volokh Conspiracy, calls the cout's decision "one of the most appalling judicial decisions I've ever seen." You can also link to the court's decision there.

July 11, 2003

Finally! The government is off our backs!

The year is more than half gone, and we finally get to keep the money that we work so hard for. According to a report from Americans for Tax Reform, described in today's National Review Online, today is Cost of Government Day, which is "the date in the calendar year when the average American worker has earned enough money to pay off his or her share of the burdens of government at all levels." Sad to say, Cost of Government Day falls five days later this year than it did in 2002. More of the gory details are described in the NRO column written by ATR's president, Grover Norquist.

July 08, 2003

The Tax Plan Behind The Tree

State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R) in a letter to the editor of the Northern Virginia Journal (link requires subscription), has called on Gov. Mark Warner (D) to release the tax restructuring plan that Gov. Warner promised on April 24 would be released "in the next few weeks."

"For the sake of Virginia's voters" Cuccinelli urges the Governor to "abandon his strategy for a five-month stall" until after the election. Arlington taxpayers should urge the Governor to do so as well.

Whoops, Almost Forgot!

We've got to make sure both sides get heard in the Arlington Stadium debate. Here's a study by GMU economist Stephen Fuller touting the economic benefits that the stadium could bring to Arlington and the Northern Virginia area.

And according to the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority, 55 percent of Arlington residents support putting the stadium in the Pentagon City area.

And that study referred to below, claiming that co-locating the stadium and the proposed convention center would save $31 million over the cost of building a stand-alone convention center, is here.

But of course, who says Arlington County needs a convention center anyway? Doesn't D.C. have one of those?

July 07, 2003

Should Taxpayers Subsidize Baseball in Arlington?

Will Major League Baseball make their decision to move the Montreal Expos baseball team to the nation's capital later this month? Will they choose a site in the District, or will they choose one of five sites identified by the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority? Whichever site is selected by MLB, the executives of MLB will sure to have their hands out looking for taxpayer subsidies. A policy paper from the National Taxpayers Union strongly argues that public funding of sports stadiums are nothing but a ballpark boondoggle. Do taxpayers support subsidies? The paper cites a 1997 poll conducted by Rasmussen Research, which found that taxpayers oppose such subsidies by wide margins. In the Rasmussen poll, 64% of taxpayers opposed support while less than 25% supported such taxpayers support. For more information about the proposed baseball stadium in Arlington, ACTA members can visit the website of NoArlingtonStadium.org. Today's Washington Time contains a front-page story on the various issues related to bringing MLB to the Washington area.

July 06, 2003

Is there Anything Government Won't Tax?

To aid its efforts in reducing the emission of "greenhouse gases," New Zealand's government has proposed "to charge farmers a fee based on the size of their flocks and herds," and says the $5 million raised annually from the "flatulence tax" will be used "to fund research into minimizing the emissions. According to a July 3, 2003 report from the Cybercast News Service, some farmers are threatening a rebellion. In meetings with government officials, some farmers "suggested a campaign of civil disobedience" while others said they would withhold information about the number of their livestock.

July 04, 2003

A Philospher Answers Question of Whether Taxation is Theft

In a recent op-ed posted at TechCentral.com, Keith Burgess-Jackson, philosphy professor at the University of Texas at Arlington answers the question of whether taxation is theft. He notes that socialists argue that since "wealth is (largely) undeserved, the coerced taking of wealth through taxation is not theft." He concludes otherwise, and adds that socialists "should not despair, however, at their inability to justify taxation, for if socialists were to pool their "undeserved" wealth, they could probably provide for the needs of those for whom they profess to care."