California Supreme Court hearing reveals politicians’ disdain for voters – Orange County Register

Last Wednesday, the California Supreme Court heard the case of Legislature v. Weber, a legal action brought by Governor Newsom and Democrats in the legislature to remove from the ballot a duly qualified initiative constitutional amendment known as the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA).

If enacted, TPA will restore key provisions of Prop. 13 and other voter-approved ballot measures that gave taxpayers, not politicians, more control over when and how new tax revenue is raised. If California is ever to have a chance of restoring its former glory TPA is critical because, over the past decade, the legislature and the courts have created massive loopholes and confusion in long-established tax law and policy. TPA closes those loopholes and provides new safeguards to increase accountability and transparency over how politicians spend our tax dollars. It represents the only long-term check on the otherwise unlimited power of a two-thirds supermajority progressive legislature to raise taxes.

As support for TPA grows, so does the desperation of its detractors, which explains the effort by the governor and the legislature to use the courts to knock TPA off the ballot. But the question on the minds of voters is how can a duly qualified ballot measure that secured more than 1.4 million signatures in support simply be removed from the ballot?

The legal theory advanced by the governor and the legislature is that TPA is an attempt at an impermissible “revision” of the state constitution, not merely an amendment. Only the Legislature can propose a “revision” and it requires both a two-thirds vote in each house and ratification by the statewide electorate.

In simple terms, the distinction between a “revision” of the constitution versus an “amendment” is that the former is either a fundamental alteration in our basic form of government or deprives a branch of government of one of its core powers. TPA doesn’t do either. Since the early 1900s when the rights of direct democracy in California were created, the courts have found only two measures that crossed that line. In fact, a similar attack against Prop. 13 was rejected in 1978.

The “revision” argument is very weak and several of the high court justices pressed the opposing lawyer during the oral argument. (A final decision is expected in June).

The legal arguments aside, the attempt to prevent the voters from deciding the fate of TPA at the ballot box reflects the disconnect between our political ruling class and ordinary citizens. In California, under single-party rule, taxpayers are treated as second-class citizens who exist only to serve politicians by forking over ever-increasing tax revenue that the politicians covet. That money, in turn, is used to reward those interests who support those in power with massive campaign contributions.

But this is why we have direct democracy. While the original Progressive movement was designed to break the political stranglehold of the railroads, today the special interests are predominately public-sector organizations—government agencies and public employees paid with your tax dollars.

#California #Supreme #Court #hearing #reveals #politicians #disdain #voters #Orange #County #Register

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *