Much has be written about the potential cascade of initiatives headed for the November 2016 ballot because of the lower total of signatures needed to qualify ballot measures. But, those who study the initiative landscape see as much maneuvering as you would find in a chess match before all the pieces fall into place and we have a clear picture what the voters will be deciding. As I already commented, there could be a tax blitzkrieg headed for the ballot. We’ll concentrate on those measures.

The internal debates and potential deals among allies are heating up because decision time is not too far off. While the conventional wisdom for filing an initiative is to do so one year before the election, the Secretary of State website suggests much earlier kick-off dates. If a full check of signatures is needed to see if a measure qualifies for the November 8, 2016 election, the recommended date to file is July 7, 2015.

Of course, well-heeled groups pushing an initiative don’t usually need the maximum amount of days. Enough signatures for constitutional amendments have been gathered in a little over a month’s time with the aid of abundant resources. It takes a high dollar-per-signature bounty to get the job done and move a particular petition to the top of the pile. If many initiatives are filed there will be a lot of competition for the professional signature gatherers, which is one more element in the calculations.

Most intriguing is the question for many groups about which measures to support.

Groups interested in raising revenue are discussing which and how many measures should be on the ballot. These groups – unions, grassroots organizations, issue advocates – also want to know where the money raised will end up. Disagreement on that important point is quite possible so the potential for splits in the usual pro-tax coalition is high.

Will teachers unions support a split roll if a property tax increase at the local level reduces state funding for schools? Will local government advocates support an extension of Proposition 30 if most of the revenue is tabbed for education? How about an oil severance tax or a cigarette tax? If the money from those taxes are designated to satisfy certain agendas that don’t benefit the cause of other tax seekers, will those other interests object? Moreover, the concern for the pro-tax increase forces, if too many tax increase measures are on the ballot, won’t that turn off the voters who may send them all down to defeat?

When a coalition of builders and others proposed to put a school construction bond on the ballot you would think education interests would applaud. The education establishment is considering, if a school bond is on the ballot, what affect might that have on a tax increase measure that would send more revenue to schools?

Then there are the potential opponents of tax increases who are also wondering what the ballot will look like. How many resources can they bring to bear against numerous tax measures, or is a No-on-All-Taxes campaign in order, especially in light of the state surplus?

There are even other potential measures that could come into play in an overall ballot strategy.

A pension reform measure is possible. If the measure goes forward at the same time tax increases are on the ballot a high-profile campaign drawing out public employees to defeat the pension measure would probably see many of those voters vote for some tax increases as well. A concern for some tax opponents who believe reform of pensions is past due.

And what if there is a marijuana legalization initiative with a tax attached? Might voters think by supporting this tax they have dealt with the state’s fiscal circumstances and can oppose other taxes?

Moves and countermoves are being considered as potential initiatives are discussed and prepared.

Protect the king and go for checkmate.

Follow Joel Fox on Twitter @1JoelFox1