18 Taxpayer Groups File Amicus Brief in Support of Taxpayer Protection Act.
January 31, 2024
A coalition of 18 taxpayer groups from across the state filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court, urging the Court to allow voters to vote on the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA), a ballot initiative that would require voter approval for any new state or local tax increases in California.
The TPA, which qualified for the November 2024 ballot with more than 1.4 million signatures, is facing a legal challenge from Governor Newsom, the Legislature and Senator John Burton. They claim that the initiative is actually revision of the state constitution, which requires different procedures. This is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters and silence their voices.
The amicus brief argues that the TPA is a valid exercise of the people’s right to initiative and referendum, which is enshrined in the California Constitution and recognized by the U.S. Constitution. The brief also contends that the TPA does not alter the structure or framework of the state government, but rather imposes a reasonable and popular check on the legislature’s power to impose taxes.
The brief cites several examples of how the TPA would protect taxpayers from excessive and wasteful taxation, such as preventing the legislature from imposing a wealth tax, a sales tax on services, or a carbon tax without voter consent. The brief also points out that the TPA would restore the two-thirds voter approval threshold for local special taxes, which was effectively lowered to a simple majority by a recent state Supreme Court decision.
The 18 Taxpayer groups and others that joined the amicus brief are:
Alameda County Taxpayers’ Association, California Taxpayer Protection Committee, Central Valley Taxpayers Association, Chico Taxpayers Association, Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers (Marin County), Gold Country Taxpayers Association, Los Angeles County Taxpayers Association, Orange County Taxpayers Association, Placer County Taxpayers Association, Reform California, Sacramento Taxpayers Association, San Francisco Taxpayers Association, Silicon Valley Taxpayers’ Association, Solano County Taxpayers Association, Sutter Yuba Taxpayers Association, Ventura County Taxpayers Association, the Red Brennan Group and Moving Oxnard Forward.
The amicus brief was filed by attorney Jason A Bezis of the Law Offices of Jason A. Bezis, located in Lafayette, California.
This lawsuit is not only an assault on the will of the people, but also a threat to the fiscal health and stability of the state. If the Governor’s lawsuit succeeds, it will open the door for higher taxes, more debt, and less accountability. That is why we urge you to support the TPA initiative and oppose the lawsuit. Join us in defending our voice and our vote in the tax policy of California.