Taxpayer Protection Act Proponents Blast CA Supreme Court for Tossing It Off Ballot: 'We'll Be Back'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Californians live in one of the most highly taxed states in the union, so it’s hardly surprising that voters would approve an initiative that would make it more difficult for lawmakers to raise them. As we reported earlier, however, the state Supreme Court poked a finger in residents’ eyes and on Thursday unanimously ruled that the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act can’t even appear on the November ballot.


Opponents of the ballot measure, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, argued that it was in violation of the state constitution and would create “a fourth branch of government.” God forbid we should let the people who live here have a say in matters.

Related: Gavin Newsom Gets a Big Win, Screws Over 'Democracy'

The measure would have required voters to actually approve more onerous taxes in the Golden State:

The business community-sponsored initiative, formally known as the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, broadly aimed to make it more challenging to raise taxes in California, including by requiring the Legislature to seek approval from the voters for any new or higher state tax.

Newsom and legislative leaders sued last fall to stop the measure, arguing that it amounts to an illegal attempt to revise the California Constitution and would impair essential government functions. 

Despite Thursday’s defeat at the hand of the state’s Supreme Court, the measure’s main backers say the battle may be lost, but the war is not over. Rob Lapsley, co-chair of the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act campaign, spoke to reporters in Sacramento after the ruling and said he was disappointed for the almost one-and-a-half million people who signed the measure:

Let me start today by being crystal clear about what this is about. This is not about us. This initiative is about the 1.43 million Californians who signed it. It's about the 170 organizations and our coalition who support it. 

It's about the thousands of individuals who have signed up to help us; and on behalf of all of them, that is today who we are frustrated and disappointed for.


Jon Coupal, who is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association and who also spoke at the news conference, was disgusted by the Court’s move:

He also spoke at the news conference:

The fact that we now know that the playing field is severely unbalanced, we will do what we can using the tools we have, but this is a cautionary tale to every voter in the state of California. Look at your ballots very carefully and please, please—look at your candidates. This is not a partisan issue, but look at your candidates, where they stand on fiscal responsibility, low taxes, and responsible use of taxpayer dollars. 

Wallet Hub just last week announced that California ranks dead last in ROI [regarding] the use of taxpayer dollars...

California is a tax machine, highest income tax rate in America at 13.3 percent, highest state sales tax rate in America at 7.25 percent, highest gas tax in America. And even with Proposition 13, we ranked 19th out of 50 states in per capita property tax collections. [my emphasis]


Gavin Newsom and the state Supreme Court have sent a strong message to voters: we don’t actually want your input. Kudos to folks like Lapsley and Coupal who continue to fight for the Golden State—even when it feels like they’re operating against a stacked deck. 



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