California’s November 2012 ballot will contain two initiatives to increase state income taxes. One initiative is sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown and groups allied with him, especially state government employee unions. The other initiative is sponsored by Molly Munger and is endorsed by the PTA (Parents-Teachers Association) of California.
Both initiatives hold themselves out as measures that would increase funding for education. However, the Munger initiative sends the additional revenue directly to local schools, whereas the Governor’s initiative is not so specific about what the money would be used for, and would put the additional revenue into the state general fund.
The Munger initiative signatures were submitted first. Traditionally, initiatives are placed on the November ballot in the order in which their proponents submitted the signatures. However, on June 25, the legislature amended AB 1499 to provide that initiatives that amend the Constitution should appear on the ballot ahead of other initiatives. The amended bill passed on June 27 in both houses, was signed by the Governor on June 27, and takes effect immediately. The Governor’s initiative is a constitutional amendment, whereas the Munger initiative is not.
On June 28, Molly Munger and Our Children Our Future (proponents of her initiative) filed a lawsuit, arguing that (1) the new law violates due process by changing the rules after the initiatives were submitted; (2) that county elections officials in at least two counties deliberately postponed checking the Munger initiative until after they had checked the Governor’s initiative, which caused the Secretary of State to then announce that the Governor’s initiative had qualified before the Munger initiative had qualified. On June 29, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley granted a Temporary Restraining Order, preventing the Secretary of State from assigning ballot measure numbers to each statewide ballot measure. He also set a hearing for July 9. And, he authorized Discovery, so that the county elections officials who allegedly checked the initiative petitions in a different order in which they were submitted may be questioned about that. The case is Our Children, Our Future v Bowen, Sacramento Superior Court, 34-2012-80001194. UPDATE: California newspapers are criticizing the legislature’s attempt to change the ballot order. See here.
Other initiatives that will be on the November ballot, in the order in which they were submitted, are: (1) payroll tax deductions for government employee unions; (2) auto insurance; (3) a referendum on State Senate districts; (4) death penalty repeal; (5) sex offender registration for sex traffickers; (6) revision of the 3-strikes law for criminal sentences; (7) labels for genetically engineered foods; (8) calculation of taxes for multistate businesses; (9) the only other constitutional amendment initiative, one to change the budget cycle to two years.