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Joe Matthews, 78, Nevada Tax Reformer

Joe Matthews, 78, the father of Nevada’s property tax-slashing Question 6 initiative in the late 1970s. Matthews patterned the initiative after California’s Proposition 13. It would have limited property taxes to no more than 1% of the full cash value of the real estate. It also would have rolled back the cash value of the property to 1975 levels and would have limited increases in that value to no more than 2% a year. The measure sailed through the 1978 election by a 4-1 margin and would have become part of the state Constitution with subsequent passage in 1980. However, despite a campaign joined by Howard Jarvis, who authored Proposition 13, Matthews’ proposal lost 139,688 to 102,944 on its second vote. But Matthews claimed victory in the loss, saying that the main reason for its defeat was passage by the 1979 Legislature of a tax reform bill, which he said would never have occurred without the threat posed by Question 6. In Reno on Wednesday.


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