California voters may be able to choose between raising and cutting taxes on the November 2012 ballot.
A coalition of fiscal conservatives filed a ballot initiative Tuesday to put a lid on state spending. Known as the “Government Spending Limit Act of 2012,” the measure would limit annual state spending to the prior year’s level, adjusted for growth in personal income, and require any surplus to be spent first on debt relief.
The proposed measure, which strengthens the tight spending limits first imposed in 1979, comes one day after Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he will ask California voters for a $7 billion tax hike on the same ballot. The governor’s proposal would raise the state income tax on those earning more than $300,000 annually and increase the state sales tax for five years.
The tax-cut measure is sponsored by the California Taxpayers Association, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Small Business Action Committee.
“The politicians haven’t enacted real pension reform. They haven’t streamlined government or prioritized spending programs,” said Jarvis Association President Jon Coupal. “Instead of cutting waste, corruption and inefficiencies, they threaten cuts to programs like schools and law enforcement unless we raise taxes. This measure will allow voters to make a clear choice between higher taxes or responsible limits on government spending.”
Backers of five proposals to raise taxes, including Mr. Brown’s, are currently in the process of gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot. Each of the proposed initiatives must submit 807,605 valid signatures by June 28.