Initiative Circulating in California Contains Provision That Will Cost Taxpayers Billions

Washington, D.C.-Americans for Tax Reform is pleased to announce that it has joined with Californians Against Higher Taxes to oppose the "Budget Accountability Act," an initiative effort currently collecting signatures in California.

The speciously named act includes "budget reform" provisions such as a fund to better manage state finances and a provision to withhold legislators\’ salaries when they do not pass a budget on time. However, the act also includes a provision allowing just 55% of the legislature\’s approval to pass a tax increase. Currently, the state Constitution requires 2/3rds of the Legislature\’s approval to pass statewide tax increases. Taxpayer advocates predict that this provision would lead to a flood of tax increases in a state mired in fiscal disrepair.

"The title of this measure is clearly dishonest. Taxpayer advocates in California have come up with a much more apt name for this proposal, something like \’The Blank Check Initiative\’," said taxpayer advocate and president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, "Furthermore, it is California\’s spending that got lawmakers into the fiscal mess they are facing today. Lawmakers should be punished for past actions, not rewarded with a greater ability to spend more taxpayer dollars."

The act would make it much easier for the Legislature to create new or raise existing taxes. With more than 100 new tax and fee proposals pending in the Legislature, decreasing the 2/3rds requirement could lead to a torrent of new tax burdens on Californians. If voters approve this initiative, the floodgates will open to pending proposals currently in the Legislature: a sales tax expansion to service industries, a 5-cent per drink fee on beer and liquor wholesalers, a list of new telephone taxes, the elimination of certain personal and corporate income tax credits, and a cigarette tax increase.

"This is a direct assault on legislators committed to fiscal restraint," continued Norquist. "Eliminating the 2/3 supermajority requirement will eliminate the legislative balance of power by rendering those who do not believe in tax-and-spend practices useless."