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Stop undermining democracy, governor! Let’s vote on the Taxpayer Protection Act. – Orange County Register

Attorneys for Gov. Gavin Newsom argued this week before the California Supreme Court against Californians’ right to vote on a proposed statewide initiative that has already qualified for the November ballot. The move is in stark contradiction to the governor’s false warnings on his Campaign for Democracy fundraising website that “extremist Republicans” are “undermining the most fundamental principle of our democracy, the right to vote.”

So why have the governor, the state Legislature, the League of California Cities and others asked the state Supreme Court to take the extraordinary step of removing the Taxpayer Protection Act from the ballot and government accountability (TPA)?

To say the governor’s legal maneuvering is undemocratic is an understatement. The state constitution specifically guarantees Californians the right to put referendums and initiatives at the ballot box. This right was created 113 years ago to keep voters in charge and the legislature in check. Ironically, the governor is using California taxpayer dollars to pay powerful law firms to disenfranchise voters in this case.

The governor and state bureaucrats who oppose TPA believe it will eliminate their ability to raise taxes when they cannot rein in state spending. They also worry that the executive branch may increase bureaucratic fees and costs for taxpayers and localities where there is little accountability.

Yes, the TPA would prevent the government from raising taxes or imposing hidden fees without voter approval, but under the proposal the Legislature would retain its taxing power. Requiring state law to comply with the Constitution’s requirements for raising local taxes is hardly draconian. Current law requires a two-thirds vote of each legislative chamber or passage by a majority of voters. The TPA would provide some legal consistency by requiring both.

Prohibiting unelected bureaucrats without public accountability from imposing “hidden taxes” intended to raise billions of dollars in revenue on the backs of working families and businesses seems reasonable. Under the measure, any revenue increase must be passed by either voters or an elected body, giving taxpayers more control over potential cost increases.

Californians are facing a cost of living crisis due in part to high taxes. We pay the highest income, sales and gas taxes in the country. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, we pay more in state and local taxes than any other state in the country.

We also pay billions more in hidden government fees passed on to consumers in the prices we pay for products, services, food, fuel, transportation, utilities and housing. Yet special interests and government leaders continue to demand more from taxpayers and businesses.

California’s prohibitive cost of living not only contributes to skyrocketing poverty, widespread homelessness, and increased crime in the state, but it also pushes working families and creative businesses of jobs to leave the state.