Tax Hikes Loom for 2016 Ballot

Although it may seem far in the distant future, there has been a great deal of speculation regarding what ballot propositions might appear on the 2016 General Election ballot in California.  Focusing on just those proposals having the potential for real harm to taxpayers, here is our short list:

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SALES AND INCOME TAX EXTENSION — An extension of the temporary sales and income tax increase voters approved with Proposition 30 in 2012 is being advocated by public sector labor leaders.  The proponents will argue that, since Californians are accustomed to paying these higher rates, it should be more palatable to voters to make these tax increases permanent as opposed to some “new” tax.

OIL SEVERANCE TAX — An oil severance tax – taxing petroleum as it is extracted – is likely to be advanced by those who see an opportunity to soak an unpopular industry. They will count on the public not noticing that these taxes will be passed on to California drivers in the form of higher gas prices.

SPLIT ROLL PROPERTY TAX — Those on the far left are salivating over the prospect of an increase in property taxes for commercial property.  This attack on Proposition 13 would split the tax roll so that business property will pay much more. The impact on small business and jobs will be glossed over with the usual platitudes like, “It’s for the children.” They will totally ignore that higher taxes on businesses are passed through to consumers in the form of higher costs for goods and services.

TOBACCO TAX — A tobacco tax is also in the offing.  The state tax on a pack of cigarettes is 87 cents.  Those wanting more tax revenue would like to add another two dollars and will probably also claim it is a blow for public health because it will help smokers quit.  Even if one opposes smoking, it has to be acknowledged that tobacco taxes are highly regressive as well as leading to more black market commerce which, by the way, goes untaxed.

LOWERING OF THE TWO-THIRDS VOTE FOR BONDS AND/OR PARCEL TAXES – Of greatest concern to California homeowners is the possibility that the two-thirds vote requirement for local bonds and parcel taxes will be eliminated.  These levies are repaid only by property owners.  How realistic is this threat?  Considering that, for the first time since Prop 13 was passed in 1978, a house of the California legislature actually passed this anti-13 proposal (ACA 8) the threat is very real.

BAG TAX – The “bag tax” – a charge on single use bags – is actually not a tax increase proposal. Rather, this tax was enacted by the legislature but is now subject to repeal via the referendum power by those opposed to the tax. The tax reflects “nanny government” at its worst.

Here are a couple of observations about this potential tax “tsunami” at the ballot box. First, the threat from anti-taxpayer initiatives is even higher than in prior years because, for 2016, it is much easier to qualify initiative measures generally.This is due to the fact that the signature requirement is based on the most recent election’s voter turnout. 2014’s historically low turnout means that initiative measures now need far fewer signatures to qualify than in previous years.

Second, what happens if all these tax hikes appear on the ballot?  Would this be the ultimate “Dooms Day” for taxpayers?  Perhaps.   But, in an odd way, it might be a positive development. By overreaching and asking for the moon, the tax-and-spend crowd might ensure defeat of all the measures as voters begin to add up how much these proposals, in the aggregate, are going to cost.

Third, while Californians in the last election were fairly generous in passing local tax measures, this does not necessarily translate into support for state tax hikes. Voters’ recent support for Proposition 30, discussed previously, was based on a perceived crisis for education if the taxes were not approved. Plus, the hikes were sold as “temporary.” Those conditions are not currently present. Californians are increasingly aware that we live in a high tax state and resistance to higher taxes will be high for the foreseeable future.

In any event, expect to see the groundwork laid for these and other tax raising initiatives very soon.   It will be important for taxpayers to pay close attention and to keep a tight grip on their wallets.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

This article was originally published on


  1. Just Vote NO, and keep voting NO, until they get the message.

    • Just voting NO is not enough. We need to get the looney left out of Sacramento and DC.

      California is one of the few states with a declining population. The population is declining because so many that would love to be able to stay here, can no longer afford to do so because of the cost of living which is further being raised by the ever increasing level of taxation imposed in California. And it is not just individuals leaving California. This is the worst business climate in the entire US.

      The true irony is that in many parts of this state, the electorate is quite conservative. Take for instance the farming corridor between I-5 and US 99. Most farmers and ranchers are quite conservative and likely republican voters.

      Unfortunately again, with the notable exception of Orange County, most of the population centers, the areas were the populace is largely supported on the government dole, are largely libtards. The libtards will never vote no on a tax becaue they don’t pay the taxes, they receive the benefits of those taxes. They call it ineptocracy!

      If the Howard Jarvis Tax bunch wants to improve the lot of the tax paying populace, they would start an initiative that instead of lowering the percentage of voters needed to impose new taxes, they would be raised. The libtard and RINO politicians would need mental health check-ups.

      I pay in excess of $12,000 in annual property taxes, for which I see no benefit. My son goes to a private university partly on an academic scholarship and the rest paid by my spouse and I. He gets no government hand out.

      I have called the local law enforcement once in the last 13 years when I caught a three time loser breaking into my workshop to steal my motorcycle. Between myself and the Rottweiler, he tripped and fell two or three times and broke a couple of bones. The sheriff came afterward and picked him up and took him to jail. He is now a 3 striker serving a life term and whose attorney is trying to get him out because his last crime was non-violent. He was trying to steal a $30K motorcycle not food for his family. He was armed with a gun and tried to put the finger on me. I guess the old adage “Just because you did it – doesn’t mean your guilty” is alive and well here.

      I pay for dog licenses for dogs that never leave the yard and do not need or use the services of animal control.

      I pay license fees for vehicles that are the highest in the nation and we have the crappiest roads.

      In January (next week), Californians are likely to see gasoline prices rise between 12 and 70 cents per gallon due to the imposition by the great RINO Governator Arnold Strongandbigger, of an Obamalike oil extraction tax. This will cause the cost of everything in California to go up. EVERYTHING!!!

      We have a choice. Take back control of our state and make taxation on a statewide level require a 75% vote of the electorate not 55%.

      Make it illegal for those that are not property owners to vote on taxes that affect those of us that are.

      Non union people don’t vote in union elections. Non shareholders of a company do vote in shareholder elections. Non citizens are not supposed to vote in this country – but if Obama and the libtards have their way they will – and soon! Those that are renters should not vote on the financial futures of those of us that are property owners.

      I love California, having lived here since I was a child some 60 years ago. But I am about one tax increase away from closing my business which will put about 40 families out of work, selling my home which I built with my own two hands and getting out of this cesspool of taxation terrorism. This is no longer the golden state.

      My libtard brother, who lives off the dole, tells me that when and if I leave, it will be like taking my finger out of a glass of water. Everything will fill in around the void.

      My tax obligation to California transcends property taxes.

      Between property, income, sales, gasoline, motor vehicle and non – road fuel taxes, my bill to the state is well in excess of $100K annually.

      Wake up California. You really can not afford to lose too many payers or the entire social welfare system collapses.

      Let’s get down to the short strokes and get some grass roots movements started that will wrestle back control of the state much like the original prop 13 did. Do not let the commy pinko libtards win.

      WAKE UP!

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