With Governor Jerry Brown declaring the end of budget
negotiations there is plenty of uncertainty of how the budget gap of over
$15-billion will be resolved. Two main avenues get all the buzz: A majority
vote scheme to put tax measures on the ballot or seeking a November ballot
initiative. I believe the second approach is most likely.
Elsewhere on this site, Loren Kaye discusses the possibility
of seeking a majority vote to place taxes on the ballot and the hurdles in the
path of that approach. Perhaps the governor or Democrats in the legislature
might try to test the legal obstacles along that path by filing a lawsuit
themselves and search for a friendly judge to get a ruling on the majority vote
approach. Possible–but unlikely.
The November ballot approach is much more likely, especially
if the state’s economy improves. If the state brings in more dollars than
projected, the budget can be massaged past the end of the fiscal year and
initiatives would be filed for November in an attempt to secure even more
revenue. Look for the new state revenue figures as a portent of this approach.
Some cuts will have to be made and schools are the likely
target. However, cuts to schools could well play into the hands of those promoting
a November tax initiative. With the school year starting a short two months
before the election, news of the cuts will be fresh in the minds of
A surge in revenue would give the governor and
his allies breathing room to pursue an initiative strategy, which would set the
stage for a November ballot brawl.