"Stop Hidden Taxes" supporters file 1.1 million signatures in California

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May 8, 2010

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SACRAMENTO: California: A "Stop Hidden Taxes" Initiative is headed for the November 2, 2010 ballot in California after its supporters filed 1.1 million qualifying signatures on May 7. [1] Election officials have until June 24 to inspect the signatures and announce a decision about whether the measure does qualify for the state's November 2 ballot. The initiative was the 8th initiative intended for the November ballot to have signatures filed on its behalf.

The proposed initiative would require a two-thirds supermajority vote in the California State Legislature to pass many fees, levies, charges and tax revenue allocations that under existing rules can be enacted by a simple majority vote.[2] Supporters of the initiative call it the "Stop Hidden Taxes" initiative, because they believe that fees, levies, and so on imposed by the California government amount to taxes, and should therefore require the same supermajority vote required to enact income or sales tax increases.

According to Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, "The Stop Hidden Taxes initiative will prohibit politicians from using a loophole to raise even more taxes by disguising them as fees. Right now, elected officials at the state and local level pass higher taxes by labeling taxes as “fees” so they can pass or increase them with a 50% vote instead of the two-thirds required by law – and in the case of many local taxes, enact them without a public vote. We need the Stop Hidden Taxes initiative to close this loophole. Higher taxes and fees make it more difficult for businesses to stay in California – the very businesses that employ Californians, create jobs and generate revenue for our state. Increasing employment and growing the economy are crucial to California’s recovery."[3]

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