California Forward filed signatures to put the organization’s reform package on the ballot. While the legislature is considering whether to create a compromise package to satisfy both the proponents and critics of the proposal so that the organization might abandon the measure even if it appears on the ballot, voters are going to have to decide whether they will support it.

The initiative could contain the closest thing to a spending limit we’re going to see.

The “pay-go” or pay-as-you go provision requires that any legislative tax cuts or spending programs to the tune of $25-million or more must designate a source to make up the lost funds or pay for the new program. Public unions have made it clear that they fear the provision will act as a limit on spending because it will be difficult to identify or pass certain taxes or find revenue to pay for new or expanded programs.

In the on-going debate over spending and taxes in California, the spending limit option continues to surface but is beaten back, usually by efforts from the public employee unions.

The rainy day fund measure that was tied to a two-year temporary tax in the 2009 special election was defeated in part by SEIU opposition. A new rainy day fund proposal that was part of the budget deal at the end of the Schwarzenegger administration was placed on the November 2012 ballot. Unions prevailed on their allies in the legislature to move the measure off the 2012 ballot and designate it for the 2014 ballot. Now there is talk that the measure, which will provide some controls on spending, might be moved again further into the future.

The spending limit initiative proposal that my small business group sponsored with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and California Taxpayers Association met stiff opposition.

But, here’s the California Forward proposal with a pay-go provision that unions are equating to a spending limit.

If spending limit efforts are continually undermined before the voters have a say, then the California Forward proposal could give them the chance. It is clear that the No campaign against the initiative will be focused on the “pay-go” – spending control provision in hopes of defeating it.

Maybe the Yes campaign will highlight the same feature and its connection to the state’s spending.