Sacramento ÛÒ The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association today filed a legal action directly in the Court of Appeal seeking to invalidate a so-called “trailer bill” which would give Governor Brown’s massive tax hike initiative priority in the official ballot pamphlet.
At issue is Assembly Bill 1499 which would repeal long-standing statutory law regarding how ballot measures appear on the ballot. “Governor Brown and his tax-and-spend allies in the Legislature have once again perverted the integrity of California’s election system law by giving his tax increase ballot preference” said Jon Coupal President of HJTA and a named petitioner in the legal action. Under the scheme Brown’s tax measure would appear first even though under current law it would appear later in the ballot. It is thought by many election experts that a higher priority gives ballot measures an edge over other items appearing on the ballot.
“Given the unpopular reception of tax hikes by California voters in recent years ÛÒ the last eight have been rejected ÛÒ it really doesn’t matter where his ballot measure appears. We think it fails” said Coupal. “But the real issue is the abuse of the ‘trailer bill’ process where the majority party bypasses Constitutional requirements related to urgency bills by slapping on a token ‘appropriation’ of $1000. This is a transparent abuse of the process.”
HJTA the state’s largest taxpayers association recently succeeded in another legal action in the Court of Appeal when it ruled that the legislature’s practice of dictating the contents of the supposedly impartial title and summary for ballot measures constituted a violation of the Political Reform Act.
The legal action is anticipated to be resolved soon given the need of the Secretary of State to provide specific numbers to the initiative measures appearing on the ballot.