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Tax group sues Raleigh over debt petition

Posted September 8, 2011

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— The Wake County Taxpayers Association on Thursday filed suit against Raleigh, alleging that the city improperly rejected a petition seeking a referendum on the city's debt load.

The lawsuit turns on the word "at."

The group said it gathered the signatures of more than 6,500 voters in April for a petition to place a referendum on the October ballot to require voter approval before Raleigh could take on any new debt.

City leaders rejected the petition, saying it didn't have enough signatures. The city charter requires petitions to have 10 percent of registered voters "at the last election."

The taxpayers group said they believe that means the percentage of people who voted, but Raleigh officials said it means 10 percent of all registered voters at that time.

"The purpose of this lawsuit is to make the court declare what the right of the people of the city of Raleigh is to fashion its own destiny when it comes to incurring debt," said Kieran Shanahan, a lawyer representing the group.


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  • cantstandya Sep 9, 2011

    Would that also apply when it comes to federal spending if all that voted could petition for conrolled spending and in which way it is spent?

  • storchheim Sep 9, 2011

    I'm with bill0. I like what the group was collecting signatures for, but the language is very clear.

  • XLAW Sep 9, 2011

    "...at the last election." You don't have to be an expert in legislative drafting to recognized really sloppy work. At some level someone should have questioned the poor and unclear use of language.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Sep 9, 2011

    They have to know it's a frivolous lawsuit, which they probably are outspoken against when others do it. And it highlights that they don't think they can get enough more signatures.

  • as400_guru Sep 9, 2011

    Time to enact a loser pays system for all lawsuits. Period. That would end lawsuits with no legal standing.

  • davidbh61255 Sep 9, 2011

    Maybe we can cap our DEBT in Durham, Too!!

  • Jim Britt Sep 9, 2011

    Litigious "conservatives". The purpose of representational democracy is to allow the people to fashion their collective destiny when it comes to all public matters by electing representatives to make decisions. This is a frivolous lawsuit and a waste of tax money.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Sep 9, 2011

    Another needless law suit by a lawyer trying to get rich. It is a shame.

  • bill0 Sep 9, 2011

    "If you do not vote, then you are not a voter. You have to vote in order to be a voter I would think."

    But the law doesn't say voters. It says "registered voters". That term has a legal meaning - ie anyone on the voter registration rolls.

  • short Sep 9, 2011

    Just another way the 'lefties' want to stifle the people. They know darn well if put to a vote....the bill would pass.....I mean.....the dems thought...how dare you make me come to you the voter if I want to blow a hole in the budget - borrow more and then tax you more....Yep - sounds like the liberal think tank to me.