Grassroots activists in California point to the initiative process as a potent and underutilized last resort, capable of ushering in sweeping reforms. They’re right, but the initiative process is equally available to California’s progressives, backed by powerful special interests. And while the activist reformers talk, the progressives act.
How else to explain the hundreds of local ballot initiatives that are marketed to voters in California’s cities and counties every time there’s an election, which in aggregate soak taxpayers for billions in new taxes every year? In November 2016, out of224 local tax proposals, voters approved over 70 percent, adding $2.9 billion in new taxes. In November 2018, out of259 local tax measures, voters approved another estimated $1.6 billion per year in new taxes.
The vast majority of these tax measures are sponsored by special interests who stand to gain from their passage. In fact, many if not most local tax… Read More