State proposition headed to court

March 3, 2009 7:42:14 PM PST
A key component in the budget deal brokered in Sacramento last month is headed to court on Wednesday. A taxpayers group is suing, claiming the tax increase created by Proposition 1A are not being made clear to voters when they hold to the poles in May.

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The state budget Governor Schwarzenegger signed less than two weeks ago is already in trouble, heading to court Thursday over how Proposition 1A is worded.

"We have problems with the ballot label itself," said Jon Coupal, from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The conservative anti-tax group, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the liberal group, Health Access, are suing the state, accusing leaders of deception. They say Prop 1A downplays the fact that the proposed limit on Sacramento spending and the creation of a rainy day fund also means Californians will pay up to two more additional years in higher taxes.

"The Legislature knows darn well and their political consultants know darn well, that any reference to the tax increases will almost assuredly mean defeat for Proposition 1A," said Coupal.

The campaign team Legislative leaders hired to help pass Prop 1A denies any deception and points out "$16 billion in higher tax revenue" is stated on the ballot.

"The fiscal impact of these measures is very clearly layed out. So again, what we're looking at is a pretty specious argument by some very interesting bedfellows who are interested in seeing the status quo continue," said Julie Soderlund, a campaign spokeswoman.

The latest Field Poll shows strong support among likely voters for Prop 1A, formally called the Rainy Day Budget Stabilization Fund. In the poll, 57-percent favor it, 21-percent oppose it, while nearly a quarter are still undecided.

Interestingly, when pollsters told their sample group Prop 1A also extended their taxes for a longer period of time, support for it dropped to 34-percent.

"Voters are going to, more than normal, are going to have to try and seek out more information to fill in the blanks, to figure out what these rather vague descriptions actually mean," said Mark DiCamillo, a Field producer.

The judge could issue a change in the wording of Prop 1A or leave it the way it is.

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