Governor Brown and Speaker Perez are floating the notion of legislative
approval of tax extensions, to be "ratified" by the people at a later election.
This raises an interesting question – how would you present the question?
Remember, this is not a plebiscite, it’s a proposed
The most straightforward approach would be to propose
to continue the extension of the taxes for however many years is agreed upon.
In that case, a "yes" vote continues the taxes while a "no" vote brings them to
an end. As a bonus, any related constitutional changes, such as a spending cap,
could be included in the measure. The disadvantage, as any political consultant
would attest, is that it is more difficult to obtain a "yes" vote from voters
than a "no" vote.
other hand, the "ratification" aspect of the question presents an intriguing
alternative: if the Constitution is proposed to be amended to, say, repeal the
tax extensions, then voters would be voting "yes" for a negative act, and vice
versa. This gives the politicos a tantalizing opportunity to ask for a "no"
vote that results in a continuation of the higher taxes. The down side would be
the inability to tie an unsuccessful measure to a related constitutional budget
(or pension, etc.) reform.