There are 4 tax-related measures on the November ballot (Propositions 30, 31, 38 and 39) and taxpayer groups are outraged that the Senate Governance and Finance Committee blocked a hearing on the measures from being broadcast to the public. It is believed that Democratic leaders did not want the testimony to be made public due to critical comments of the Governor’s tax hike initiative (Prop 30) as well as comments about the recent raises that were handed to Senate staffers during a time of budget crisis. Drawing attention to the raises may undercut voter support for an increase in taxes, which is being asked by the governor’s measure.
Dan Walters at the Bee notes: “But Rhys Williams, Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg's spokesman, said the cutoff wasn't aimed specifically at Jon Coupal and other tax opponents, but at everyone arguing for and against all four measures. ‘It was inappropriate to provide legislative resources to promote the ballot measure campaigns of either side, and in particular to make those public-funded resources easily available for exploitation in political TV commercials,’ Williams said in an email. ‘No different to the rules that apply to legislative staff.’ Yet the stated purpose of the hearing -- one required by state law, incidentally -- was to air pro and con arguments on ballot measures.”
Overall, just a few hours were spent discussing these complicated measures, which led columnist Joe Matthews to argue that the state of Oregon has a far better process for evaluating the impact of propositions. He notes that Oregon takes initiatives more seriously because it has a process called the Citizens' Initiative Review in which a panel of 24 citizens studies one initiative per week. Matthews notes, “As a Californian who is visiting Salem this week to watch the process, I'm a bit embarassed by the differences between this initiative review and our meager hearing in Sacramento. And I'm reminded that my state has not been taking ballot initiatives as seriously as we should be.” Read more here.
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- Registered to Vote? Now Available Online
- The Latest: Secretary of State Updates
- Smoke and Mirrors: New Prop 30 Ad
- Fact Checkers Counter First Prop 30 Ads
- Voters Feeling Undecided on Tax Measures? New PPIC Poll Shows Shaky Voter Support
- New Prop 32 Ad
- Opponents of Prop 32 Outspend Supporters
- Prop 38 Backer Prepares for “Big Air War”