When Taxes, Grammar & Voting Collide: City Could Lose Half Billion Due to Two-Word Error

Word nerds know the importance of grammar, but sometimes it pays to be concise. For the Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) water district, the addition of only two extra words could cost them $548 million.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the error was on a proposed tax that is supposed to go before area voters this fall. The water district submitted a ballot summary for the measure to elections officials that was 77 words: Two words longer than election laws allow summaries to be.

The district caught the error barely in time, but then compounded the problem when they hastily called an emergency board meeting to approve a shortened version. Unfortunately, they failed to meet requirements of open meetings laws, since they didn't adequately post notice of the meeting online or with the media.

Since any actions taken at that meeting have been nullified, and the final deadline for ballot measures is now passed, some taxpayer groups are threatening legal action if the measure appears on the ballot.

More at San Jose Mercury News.