Taxing CaliforniaMarch 17, 2010Jon Brooks Comments Off
Of all the dysfunctional state governments, California’s may be at the top. California has a $20 billion budget deficit, but the state cannot raise taxes or pass a budget without a 2/3 majority vote in the state legislature. That law was enshrined in the state constitution in 1978 through Proposition 13, which also capped property taxes, reducing them by an average of 57%. Thus, it is nearly impossible to raise additional revenue in the state. From Time magazine:
Lots of anti-tax folks, of course, like it that way. But now there is a push on to repeal the two-thirds majority requirement via the same initiative process that instituted it. The California Democracy Act would change just one word in the constitution in two places. The sentence “All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a 2/3 vote” would become “All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.”
Here, George Lakoff, a linguist who works with Democrats on framing issues and who is the campaign chair of the initiative campaign, talks about the initiative and the problem of governing California:
For a diametrically opposed view of taxes, government, and everything else, check out the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an organization dedicated to continuing the work of Howard Jarvis, who spearheaded the original initiative, and to protecting Proposition 13 and expanding anti-tax policies.