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New Nevada tax repeal efforts dropped

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 22:16:48-04

Efforts to place a controversial new tax on the 2016 ballot are being dropped.

Nevada Controller Ron Knecht, who had largely spearheaded the effort to repeal the state's new "Commerce Tax," confirmed to KTNV Wednesday that repeal efforts were being dropped following a state Supreme Court decision that invalidated around 20,000 collected signatures.

Knecht said there simply wasn't enough time to collect the mandated 55,000 signatures needed by the June 21 deadline, and emailed supporters Wednesday explaining the decision.

"Frankly, for last 10 days we've been thrashing about with every wild contingency plan we could muster," he said in an interview. "In the end, we just couldn't do it."

Nevada's Supreme Court ruled earlier in May that the petition to repeal the tax wasn't correctly worded. A Carson City judge approved new language for the ballot measure last week, but Knecht and others faced an uphill battle to meet the deadline.

Knecht said the final blow was news that conservative activist group Americans For Prosperity had decided to redeploy staff initially instructed to help collect signatures to place the tax repeal on the ballot.

Several Republicans have been targeting the new tax approved by the state Legislature in 2015 and championed by fellow Republican, Gov. Brian Sandoval. The so-called "Commerce Tax" applies a tax on business income over $4 million and applies different rates based on industry classification.

An email seeking comment from Sandoval's office weren't immediately returned Wednesday.

Knecht said it's possible that supporters could try and bring the repeal forward during the next election cycle, but said it's too early to make plans.

"This isn’t the end of the war," he said. "It's just a battle we lost."