Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

By Jon Coupal – June 22, 2024

We were shocked and angered by the California Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday in Legislature v. Weber, the outrageous lawsuit filed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislative leaders. The lawsuit asked the court to order the removal of our duly qualified initiative, the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, from the November ballot in order to prevent voters from passing it.

The seven justices of the Supreme Court yielded to the wishes of the political branches, handing them the victory they sought over the will and the rights of 1.4 million California voters who signed petitions to qualify the TPA initiative for the ballot, as well as the tens of millions of Californians who would have benefited from its protections.

The court put politics ahead of the state Constitution. It is now obvious that all three branches of California’s government — executive, legislative and judiciary — believe the government may decide how much money it needs and raise taxes accordingly, and the voters may not constrain them.

Defying legal precedents and plain common sense, the court declared that the Taxpayer Protection Act was an impermissible “revision” of the state constitution, beyond the power of the voters to enact. Revisions, the court said, may only be enacted through a constitutional convention that is called by the legislature itself.

Since 1911, Californians have had three powers of direct democracy as a check on the power of the government: the initiative, the referendum and the recall. Now the court has effectively declared that the people’s power to amend the constitution through initiative is subject to the approval of the government.

This dangerous decision would likely have prevented Proposition 13 from passing in 1978. It’s the clear intent of the state government to block voters from limiting tax increases at all. In addition to this outrageous ruling, the legislature has placed a constitutional amendment proposal on the November ballot, ACA 13, which selectively sets a higher vote threshold to pass certain constitutional amendments. It applies only to initiatives like Prop. 13, those that set a higher vote threshold to pass tax increases.

What’s more, the legislature has also put ACA 1 on the November ballot to make it easier to raise taxes, cutting the vote threshold for approval from the current 66.7% for special taxes and local bond debt down to just 55%. Loopholes the courts have carved into Prop. 13 (which the TPA would have closed) have already reduced the threshold for passing many local taxes down to 50%-plus-one-vote.

We will be fighting ACA 1 and ACA 13 with all our strength this fall. At the same time, we will be fighting to protect Proposition 13 from another attack by special interests that is planned for 2026.

This is not a drill. This is a firebell in the night.

If you are not already a member of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, now is the moment to join. If you are able to support our efforts financially, your donation to HJTA and to the Protect Prop. 13 campaign committee have never been more important. We are in a war to save Proposition 13 so Californians are not taxed out of their homes and businesses. With your help, we will defeat ACA 1 and ACA 13 and come back even stronger in 2026 to fight for the security of California families.

Jon Coupal is President of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

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