We relayed previously that 11 measures have already qualified for the November ballot, so as you can imagine, voter fatigue will be an issue as they make their way down a long list of measures during the election. Consequently, being at the very top of the ballot is prime positioning, and every campaign understandably wants that top spot based on the assumption that voters will be more willing to approve their measure. This is where the controversy enters into the equation. Critics are crying foul play at the governor by alleging that he used his influence to get his initiative not only qualified before other measures but also ahead of tax rivals on the ballot.
The governor and Democratic leaders passed a piece of legislation that would likely push the governor’s tax initiative to the top of the ballot and that didn’t sit too well with rival tax campaigns, so a rival campaign led by Molly Munger has filed a lawsuit to block this legislation. The lawsuit calls the budget trailer bill “an abuse of the political process and legislative power.”
In response to criticism about legislation that favors the governor’s initiative, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg commented, “The governor's tax measure is the most important measure on the ballot, you better believe it. Because it is the opportunity to end this deficit once and for all, and to do so without cutting another multibillion dollars from education and higher education. I proudly stand by this bill."
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is also considering legislation. The current litigation has delayed the Secretary of State from assigning official numbers to November’s ballot measures until a judge holds a hearing on the matter. Specifically, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley issued a temporary restraining order against Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
The order of initiatives won’t be set until after a July 9th hearing. A solid summary of the dispute can be found here.
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