Initiative sponsors appeal Leman ruling

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) Backers of a rejected initiative that would make it more difficult to impose taxes in Alaska appealed their case to Anchorage Superior Court on Thursday.

Alaskans for Efficient Government is asking a judge to reverse a decision by Lt. Gov. Loren Leman to keep the initiative off the ballot.

The group is sponsoring an initiative that would require a 75 percent ''supermajority'' vote of each house of the Legislature to institute new taxes.

The initiative would also give municipalities the ability to reduce taxes and prohibit a statewide real estate transfer tax.

Attorney General Gregg Renkes advised the initiative was unconstitutional because it delved into powers reserved for the Legislature.

It would limit the power of the Legislature to raise taxes and collect revenue and improperly change the enactment process for bills, the attorney general said. Leman rejected the initiative Aug. 5.

Attorney Ken Jacobus, who is representing the group, said the initiative would place limits on the Legislature allowed by the constitution.

''Initiatives always usurp the power of the Legislature,'' Jacobus said.

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

The group is trying to get approval of a petition in time to get the initiative on the 2006 ballot.

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