The Secretary of State has announced that proponents for the "Government Spending Limit Act of 2012" can begin gathering signatures. One of the initiative’s backers is the California Taxpayers Association because the proposal would limit annual state spending to the previous year's level; in addition, surplus revenue would have to go toward paying off debt. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is also backing the initiative. Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, commented the following:
“The politicians haven't enacted real pension reform. They haven't streamlined government or prioritized spending programs. Instead of cutting waste, corruption and inefficiencies, they threaten cuts to programs like schools and law enforcement unless we raise taxes. This measure will allow voters to make a clear choice between higher taxes or responsible limits on government spending.”
In order to qualify for the ballot, 807,615 signatures from registered voters must be collected by August 13th. Thomas W. Hiltachk is the listed proponent. We relayed last month that rumors have circulated that the proponents of such a spending cap may opt to hold off on gathering signatures and reattempt passage in 2014.
Here is the official ballot title and description:
GOVERNMENT SPENDING LIMITS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Resets state spending limit to fiscal year 2010-11 level. Requires state and local governments spend tax revenue exceeding limit to repay debt when debt is 5% or more of their spending limit. When state debt is less than 5% of state spending limit, splits excess revenue between schools and budget reserves or taxpayer refunds, depending on amount. When local government debt is less than 5% of applicable spending limit, returns excess revenue to taxpayers. Requires constitutional amendment to change terms. Forecloses Legislature’s imposition, authorization, or submission to voters of tax increase absent two-thirds vote. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: For state government, a much greater likelihood that spending will be constrained by the constitutional spending limit. Consequently, state spending for ongoing programs—such as schools, community colleges, universities, health and social services, and corrections—may have to be reduced in certain years, potentially by billions of dollars. In addition, the measure could result in more state funding for reduction of bond debt, particularly in the near term, and in the future, more one-time funding for schools and community colleges, budget reserves, and taxpayer refunds.
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