Coastal Post Online


January, 2004

Prop. 56 "Dangerous and Deceptive"


   Taxpayers call Proposition 56, on the March ballot, as dangerous as it is deceptive.

   "This initiative is first and foremost about making it easier to raise taxes," explained Carol Evans, vice president of the California Taxpayers' Association. "It would eliminate the two-thirds vote that's now required for any tax increase or any new tax. Taxpayers are calling this the Blank Check Initiative because that's exactly what it would give Sacramento politicians -- a blank check to raise state taxes -- any time, any tax."

   The initiative would reduce the vote required to increase taxes and to pass a state budget, from two-thirds to 55 percent. It also contains other provisions described by supporters as creating more accountability, such as withholding paychecks for elected officials if they don't pass a budget on time.

   "There are some attractive hooks in this initiative," explained Evans, "but the bottom line is that this is a deceptive measure that pretends to hold politicians accountable, while rewarding them with a blank check to raise taxes and spend more money. That's not real accountability."

   The Blank Check Initiative will be joined on the March ballot by a host of other initiatives and the potential for confusion is high.

   "Voters will now have plenty to sort through on March 2," explained Evans, "but one certainty, is that Prop. 56 is the only measure on the ballot that will make it easier for Sacramento politicians to raise your taxes, and nothing in any other measure changes that."

   The Legislature considered tax and fee increases totaling almost $65 billion in the last session -- including proposed income tax increases, sales tax increases, and surcharges on a wide range of goods and services, such as cell phones and insurance.

   "If the Blank Check Initiative becomes law," Evans said, "the sky's the limit on how many of those proposed tax increases will also become law. That's why we have the largest coalition of taxpayer groups ever formed in California, working to defeat this Blank Check Initiative.

   "This would also be a huge step backward for our struggling economy. We need to stimulate the economy and create new jobs -- not bury California under a blizzard of unlimited new taxes -- and that's another danger in this Blank Check."

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