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

Christopher Chung/The Press Democrat via AP, Pool

Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom will do anything to keep initiatives that might restore sanity to the state's government (or protect its citizens, or lower the cost of living) off the ballot, and he scored a major victory Thursday morning when the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act cannot appear on November's ballot.

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RELATED: Violent Crime Skyrockets in CA, But Newsom's Attempting to Block Tough-on-Crime Reforms


Newsom and Democrat leaders in the state legislature filed suit in late 2023 to keep the initiative, which would require the Legislature to obtain voter approval for any tax increase or new tax, off the ballot. They argued that the measure would change the state constitution, and therefore could not be accomplished via the initiative process.

During oral arguments in May there was an extensive discussion about whether the initiative would basically create a fourth branch of government:

“From the founding of the state, the Legislature has had the supreme power of taxation,” Margaret Prinzing, an attorney representing the state, told the court. “This measure would revoke that power for the first time in the history of California and instead put it in the hands of the voters.”

Prinzing argued that, rather than simply amending tax law in the state constitution, this would fundamentally restructure how government operates — a more substantial change that can only be proposed by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or through a constitutional convention.

Justice Goodwin Liu pressed the lawyer for the initiative’s proponent, the California Business Roundtable, about that idea repeatedly during the hour-long hearing. He asked at one point whether giving voters authority over state taxes would create a fourth branch of government.

“Doesn’t this measure essentially shift us from a republican form of government far more strongly towards a direct democracy, given how fundamental the taxing power is?” Liu said.

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In the opinion, Liu agreed with Prinzing's conclusion:

As relevant here, article XVIII of the California Constitution provides that the electorate “may amend the Constitution by initiative” (art. XVIII, § 3) but that an effort “to revise the Constitution” must proceed by way of a constitutional convention and popular ratification (id., § 2) or by submission to the voters from a supermajority of the Legislature (id., §§ 1, 3). (See Amador Valley, supra, 22 Cal.3d at p. 221.) After reviewing the petition and the opposition filed by Proponent, we determined that Petitioners had made a prima facie showing that the TPA would amount to an invalid constitutional revision based on its far-reaching changes to existing processes by which revenue measures are enacted and maintained at the state and local levels.

Newsom and Democrat leaders have thus far failed in their efforts to get an initiative to reform the state's horrific criminal-coddling Proposition 47, which he and Gascón pimped back in 2014, off the ballot, but this week succeeded in coercing business leaders into an "agreement" to remove an initiative to reform the Private Attorney Generals Act from the ballot.

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All while shouting about their love of "Democracy."

(This is a developing story; additional details and analysis will be published as they become available.)

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