More and More Initiatives; Newsom; Status Quo Debate

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Initiatives, initiatives and more initiatives. By my count there are 50 initiative measures either already cleared by the Attorney General’s Office or sitting in the IN basket. And, some of the expected big money initiatives have not been filed yet. No split roll, spending limit, oil severance tax or even the measure to call for a constitutional convention.

Voters could get an advanced degree in political science if the ballot book is chock full of legal language, analysis and political arguments next Fall. Measures already filed cover familiar ground including abortions; the two-thirds vote requirement (both dealing with taxes and the budget and the budget alone); term limits; local government protections; and closing tax loopholes or denying business incentives, depending on your point of view.

Hold on to your hat, the initiative battles could outshine the governor’s race and certainly outspend the gubernatorial candidates even with a couple of billionaires vying for the state’s top spot.

On to the governor’s race–Calbuzz has an analysis of the Gavin Newsom Town Hall with Calitics. Newsom seems to have shifted to the more traditional attack on Prop 13 suggesting property taxes be raised on commercial property. At a Santa Monica Town Hall this summer he blamed California’s high sales tax and income tax rates on Prop 13, meaning property taxes were not high enough.

Speaking of Calitics, the Open Thread last Saturday took a shot at my comments at the “Getting to Reform” conference. However, the suggestion that I support the status quo of doing nothing is off base. I suggest they re-read the comments. I pointed out that the Field Poll showed the voters holding to the status quo. Mark DeCamillo of the Field Poll made the same argument, while noting the voters’ frustration with government. I listed a number of things that should be done to change the status quo, starting with a spending limit.

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