As the battle over public pension reform heats up as Calpensions Ed Mendel explained last week, the question for California’s business community is will it get involved?

A number of reasons have been offered to suggest business would stay on the sidelines if a pension reform initiative qualified for the ballot. The fear that such a measure would drive an unusual number of opponents to such a reform to the polls who will also vote for the tax increase measures that are expected to be on the ballot; or to vote in some closely contested races to put the Democrats in control of a supermajority of the legislature.

Another concern is that vocal protestors picketing business establishments as union members did last week at the Reason Foundation conference in Sacramento to discuss a pension reform initiative.

But there is another side to the concerns expressed that the business community would consider.

The question of why taxes are high and could go higher is tied to the pension debate. If local services are squeezed because a larger and larger portion of local budgets are dedicated to pension costs, controlling those costs will ease the pressure for taxes.

As former San Diego City Council member Carl DeMaio, who is co-leader of the pension reform effort with former San Jose mayor Chuck Reed, said, pension reform speaks to the issue of how local governments spend money. How governments spend money speaks to the issue of taxes.

If the pension reform is on the same ballot as tax increases the holistic debate is joined.

Business will be weighing the pro and con arguments deciding if they will join the fray. Expect that business will either join en masse probably through representative organizations or stay away. Few businesses will go it alone.