Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

By Jon Coupal – February 19, 2024

Last week, the organizations sponsoring the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA) filed their response to the governor and Legislature’s lawsuit, which seeks to remove the overwhelmingly popular measure from the November general election ballot. 

The Taxpayer Protection Act will close court-created loopholes in Prop. 13 as well as providing additional taxpayer safeguards:

  • Empower voters with the right to approve or reject all new state taxes as well as local taxes.
  • Increase accountability and transparency so politicians spend our tax dollars more efficiently, and ballot titles for tax increases are clear and truthful.
  • Stop government agencies from imposing “hidden taxes” disguised as fees imposed by appointed bureaucrats.

The organizations that are sponsoring and defending the Taxpayer Protection Act include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Business Roundtable and the California Business Properties Association, which collectively represent tens of thousands of homeowners, businesses large and small, and owners of commercial real estate. These groups were supported by several “friend of the court” briefs from over a dozen local taxpayer associations. 

The lawsuit by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrat leadership, backed by public employee unions, calls for the nearly unprecedented step of using the courts to deny voters their constitutional right to vote on this duly qualified initiative, a commonsense taxpayer protection and accountability measure. They are using a series of political, not legal arguments, to ask the California Supreme Court to remove the measure from the ballot. 

The legal brief from the pro-taxpayer coalition exposed the abject lack of legal merit in the arguments from the governor and his allies in the Legislature. Specifically, the attack on the Taxpayer Protection Act fell far short of meeting the extremely high threshold the California Supreme Court has established for removing duly qualified initiatives from the ballot before voters exercise their constitutional right to vote. 

The lawsuit against TPA is chock full of frivolous political arguments to support their position that California voters should not have the right to vote on future taxes. If the lawsuit proves anything it’s that the tax-and-spend progressives who control California are scared to death that TPA will pass. And that fear is well founded as evidenced by polling showing that its provisions are supported by a majority of Californians. 

Previously, the governor and Legislature’s attorneys complained that “the [Taxpayer Protection Act] reduces the Legislature’s spending power… and increases the power of State and local voters to reject taxes and charges.” 

To which we responded, “Yeah, that’s the point.”

TPA is desperately needed because the state has gone from a $100 billion surplus to a $60 billion deficit, with multiple years of projected shortfalls on the horizon. Combined with the state’s ongoing cost-of-living crisis, California voters should have the right to vote on future taxes to ensure their voice is heard on when and how new revenue is raised and spent. The governor, legislative leadership and public employee unions’ arguments make it clear that they oppose the voters having this right, and instead want the power to raise unlimited taxes for unlimited spending, without any say from the voters who are paying those taxes. 

This week’s legal filings in defense of the Taxpayer Protection Act demonstrate how TPA builds upon previous voter-approved taxpayer protection measures like Propositions 13, 218, and 26, which serve as a much needed check on higher taxes and spending.

Given the weakness of the anti-taxpayer arguments against TPA, we are cautiously optimistic that the lawsuit seeking to remove it from the ballot will fail and that voters will be given the opportunity they deserve to vote on this critically important measure. 

A decision from the California Supreme Court is expected before the end of June.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

One thought on “Gov. Newsom’s silly arguments against the Taxpayer Protection Act don’t stick”
  1. This sounds great, we tax payers deserve the vote, Newsom will fight the TPA. God help us if Newsom should get into the White House.

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