Brown Mulling Alternative Ways To Place Tax Measure on Ballot
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is considering a plan that would place his proposedÂ tax measure on a November ballot instead of the originally proposed June ballot in an effort to bypass the need for GOP support, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura/Siders, Sacramento Bee, 3/23).
Last week, lawmakers agreed to make about $14 billion in cuts to health and human services and other programs as part of Brown's plan to close the state's $26.6 billion deficit over 18 months.
In addition to the spending cuts, Brown initially sought a June special election that would allow voters to decide whether to temporarily extend certain income, sales and vehicle taxes. Brown would need the support of at least two Republicans from each house of the Legislature to obtain the two-thirds legislative majority necessary to place the issue on a June ballot (California Healthline, 3/22).
However, state leaders are running out of time to call a June special election and budget talks with GOP lawmakers have stalled.
Alternative Plan Details
If Brown fails to place hisÂ tax extension measure on a June ballot, the current tax rates would expire.Â Therefore, aÂ November ballot measure would need to call for an increase -- rather than an extension -- of tax rates.
To put the tax measure on a November ballot, proponents would need to hold a signature drive under a tight deadline. The state attorney general's office first would need to process the proposal for a ballot initiative, and then supporters would need to submit signatures by late May.
The timeframe likely would provide Brown and his supporters with one month or less to collect signatures. Signature drives often take several months and millions of dollars (Sacramento Bee, 3/23).
Brown also has proposed a plan to begin issuing IOUs when the next fiscal year begins in July. The IOUs would cover the state's expenses until a November election could be held on the tax issue (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/23).
Another plan under consideration would put the tax extension issue on a June ballot using a simple majority vote. However, attorneys for Republican lawmakers have indicated that they would file a legal challenge to any ballot measure that relies on a simple majority vote (York, Los Angeles Times, 3/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.