Ballot MeasuresBudget

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that a tax increase measure has been pulled from the November ballot. The bad news is that Governor Newsom and legislative leaders announced a budget deal that draws from taxpayer reserves and thereby boosts pressure for a tax increase down the road.

This was our second go-round with the sponsors of the ballot measure to establish a taxpayer-financed pandemic research institute. In 2022 we successfully encouraged them to remove it from that year’s ballot, which freed us to focus on and defeat Lyft’s tax increase ballot measure, but they had the right to leave it on this year’s ballot, so we worked with them (we’d be more than happy to see a philanthropically-financed pandemic research institute) while forming a committee to fight at the ballot if necessary. Ultimately they saw the wisdom of withdrawing the measure. The budget deal cynically draws on taxpayer reserves instead of reducing excessive spending on public employees. While we were successful in reducing the level of reserves to be drawn in 2024-25, the governor and legislative leaders intend to draw the balance in 2025-26, a choice we will contest while continuing to pressure them to reduce spending on public employees.

California taxpayers will always be at risk to elected officials’ subservience to public sector unions, special interest tax increase ballot measures, and court rulings. Persistent political activism is required.