Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

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The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) is a California-based low-tax, small-government political organization that was founded by Howard and Estelle Jarvis in 1978. The group gained most of its recognition for leading the campaign to pass Proposition 13 which the group says saved California $528 billion dollars.[1]

The group is known for its work with California ballot initiatives. The group also funds litigation to fight taxes, presidential debates, conferences and studies of the impact of Proposition 13. It is estimated to have about 200,000 members and, in 2008, annual income of $12 million. In 2009, HJTA spent $2.27 million on lobbying.[2]

Jon Coupal has been HJTA's president since 1999.[2]


1982: Passed Proposition 7, which prevented state income taxes from being raised by inflation

1986: Passed Proposition 62, which strengthened taxpayer's rights to vote on local tax increases

1993: Defeated Proposition 170

1994: Defeated Proposition 180

1996: Sponsored and passed Right to Vote On Taxes Act

2003: Blocked a $1.9 billion bond issue

2004: Defeated Proposition 56

2006: Defeated Proposition 88

2008: California Proposition 98 (2008)

2010 Defeated California Proposition 21, Vehicle License Fee for Parks (2010)


HJTA sometimes goes to court to protect voter or taxpayer rights.

Ballot titles

In Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Bowen, the California's Third District Court of Appeal sided with HJTA in its January 2011 ruling, which said that in order to "promote impartiality and eliminate conflicts of interest," ballot titles of legislative referrals must be written by the Attorney General of California, not the California State Legislature.[3]

Contra Costa County

HJTA and California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility won a lawsuit against Contra Costa County in July 2009. A court ruled that the organizations are entitled to a list of names and total retirement benefits for all Contra Costa County employees receiving an annual pension of at least $100,000. The taxpayer groups argued that the records should be public because (unlike the IRA and 401k plans of private citizens), the public employee benefit plans pay a guaranteed amount and are funded by taxpayers. Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Barry Baskin ruled in favor of the groups, saying a "transparent government is the cornerstone of our democracy."[4]

External links