State: Tax cap lawsuit filed too late

Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2000

ANCHORAGE The state says a lawsuit filed last month to remove the property tax-cap initiative from the November ballot was brought too late and should be dismissed.

With the deadline approaching for sending ballots to the printers, the state contends the plaintiffs could have brought their case a year ago, when Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer certified the application for the initiative, or even in January, when the petition signatures were verified.

The plaintiffs are beyond the 30-day statute of limitations, the state said in a motion filed Monday in state Superior Court in Nome. Superior Court Judge Ben Esch ordered the plaintiffs to respond by Friday to the states motion to dismiss the case.

The property tax initiative is modeled after Californias Proposition 13 of 1978. It would prevent municipalities from taxing at a rate higher than 1 percent of a propertys market value, or $1,000 on a $100,000 home.

It also would eliminate market value as the basis for assessing property in the future. Instead, property values would be frozen, with a maximum 2 percent increase a year for inflation. Only a property transfer or new construction would trigger a reassessment to full and true value.

Sponsors of the initiative say it would impose discipline on local budgets and reduce the burden on homeowners to fund government.

Opponents argue that the millions of dollars that would be lost to local governments would devastate education, cut into essential services and damage the economy.

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