pressure from anti-tax increase coalition in the California Assembly forces legislature to examine spending and kill tax hikes supported by Gray Davis and company.

WASHINGTON – Taxpayers in California are safe – for now.

On Thursday, California Governor Gray Davis was forced to sign a long overdue budget to finally fund the state\’s budget. The plan that eventually passed did not include the largest tax increases proposed by the Governor, namely a $2.13 cigarette tax hike and vehicle license fees, which he had championed

The budget, which was overdue for two months, still faces a shortfall of $12 billion, or over 8%, of California\’s total $98.9 billion budget. Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) of Washington, D.C., said, "For taxpayers\’ sake, California officials must scrutinize state spending and decrease the shortfall at no expense to the residents of the state. Taxpayers in California need to put pressure on Gov. Davis and the Assembly to become responsible when handling the hard-earned money of Californians."

In California, the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds majority in the Assembly to raise taxes, along with pressure led by John Campbell (R.- Irvine) to examine spending habits of Gov. Davis, kept the worst tax increases out of the budget and reduced the budget shortfall by 16%. "The supermajority requirement saved taxpayers billions," continued Norquist, "and it is the type of procedure that needs to be enacted on the state and federal level to protect Americans from tax hikes to fund the habits of irresponsible spenders."

Avoiding major tax hikes in the following years will depend on the success of pro-taxpayer coalition to stay together to combat increases. Throughout the budget debates, this coalition has supported the examination of spending and the increase of responsible accounting procedures for the state government. "Californians deserve a voice to represent their interests and to block tax increases. This coalition has proven successful and will continue to do so in the future," Norquist concluded.