25 + 26 = ?

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

OK,
maybe I was wrong. In fact, after much careful thought, I’m sold.
I’m willing to take Darrell
Steinberg
at his word. And Speaker John
Perez
. And Treasurer
Bill Lockyer
. And top Democratic lawyer Lance
Olson
. And the President
of the California Federation of Teachers
. And the Los
Angeles Times
and San Francisco Chronicle and other wise
editorialists advise me to relax and not worry. I now believe them all.

Their
conclusions: Prop 25 will not lower the legislative vote requirement for tax
increases from 2/3rds to a simple majority. And Prop 25 will not undermine
the
people’s recourse to a referendum.

Indeed,
the proponents helpfully point out that a Court
of Appeal ruled that
”nothing in (Prop 25’s) substantive provisions
would allow the Legislature to circumvent the existing constitutional
requirement of a two-thirds vote to raise taxes."

So
where does that leave us?

For
taxpayers, a very fine place indeed.

The
budget bill and bills appropriating money related to the budget bill can now
pass by a majority vote of the Legislature.

But
tax increases still will require a two-thirds vote.

And
taxes that are dressed up as fees will require a two-thirds vote.

And
“revenue neutral” bills that increase one party’s taxes while
reducing someone else’s taxes will require a two-thirds vote.

So
the Legislative majority is now the sole owner of the budget, but must get
the
job done by June 15 or lose their pay, and cannot raise revenues except with
the permission of the minority.

That’s
how 25 and 26 add up … unless these leaders and influential Californi=
ans
have led me astray.

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