In what may be the first victory in a wider campaign against state wireless taxes, the South Dakota Supreme Court backed ballot initiatives aimed at repealing wireless gross receipt taxes in the state.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled today that citizens of the state could get referendums on state ballots to repeal state taxes. Verizon Wireless had recently asked the South Dakota court to review a decision in the mid-1990s that prevented ballot initiatives repealing state taxes. The state had implemented a 4-percent gross receipts tax on wireless service in 2003.

The decision by the court will allow voters to decide on general election ballots in November whether the gross receipt tax should be repealed, rather than leaving it to the state legislature to decide. 

The decision, said Steve Zipperstein, vice president, legal and external affairs at Verizon Wireless, means the company could look to other states that have ballot initiative processes, like California, to open up popular voting on local industry-specific taxes. Depending on the outcome of the vote in South Dakota on its gross receipts ballot initiatives, Zipperstein said, Verizon Wireless could expand its efforts to get ballot initiatives in other states.