Supreme Court Hears Sides on Education Initiative - 8 News NOW

Supreme Court Hears Sides on Education Initiative

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LAS VEGAS -- The future of a business tax initiative to help fund public education is still uncertain and stirring up a lot of debate.

Supporters of the initiative said the tax would bring in up to a billion dollars a year, but opponents said there is no guarantee students in Nevada will see any of that money.

The battle to fund Nevada's public education is playing out in the courtroom.

Attorneys for both sides of the education initiative made their case Wednesday before the Nevada Supreme Court justices.

"It's not just a pro-education petition," said Josh Hicks, an attorney for the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, a group made up of business interests. "It could have other material effects."

LINK: Education Initiative

The initiative, which would impose a 2 percent margin tax on businesses making a million dollars or more a year, was struck down by a district court judge in October.

The judge sided with the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, which said the petition summary was misleading to voters and didn't clearly explain how the legislature would use the tax revenue.

The Nevada State Education Association appealed that decision and said the tax money would go directly to a state fund that pays for everything from hiring teachers, to buying supplies to fueling school buses.

"It certainly seems as if what this is about is the business of protecting the economic self interest of their constituent groups," said Gary Peck, the association's executive director.

The justices are expected to decide whether to restore the initiative before the state legislature reconvenes in February.

If enacted by the legislators, the tax proposal will become law. If not, the issue goes before Nevada voters in 2014.

More than 150,000 Nevadans signed the petition to approve the education initiative.

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