Leman rejects anti-tax initiative

Posted: Wednesday, August 06, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) A ballot initiative to make it more difficult to impose a tax on Alaskans was rejected Tuesday by Lt. Gov. Loren Leman.

If enacted into law, the measure would improperly stretch into the constitutional bounds of the Legislature's authority, Leman said. Leman rejected a request by sponsors to gather signatures to put it on the ballot in 2004.

''Basically, it amounts to a constitutional change, which can't be done through the initiative process in Alaska,'' said Leman spokesman Robert Pearson.

The initiative would have required a 75 percent ''supermajority'' vote of the Legislature or voter approval on any future tax measures.

Backers of the initiative were spurred on by debate in the Legislature over the need for taxes to fix the state's chronic budget shortfalls.

Leman's ruling was not a surprise, said Karen Bretz, one of the initiative's sponsor.

Bretz, who is active in the anti-tax group Alaskans for Efficient Government, said the group will appeal the ruling in state Superior Court. In any case, the measure has no chance of being on the 2004 general election ballot, she said.

The group will try to get the petition on the 2006 ballot, Bretz said.

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