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LA mayor urges a "no" vote on measure that makes it harder to raise taxes

Mayor Karen Bass urges voters to oppose The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act
Mayor Karen Bass urges voters to oppose The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act 00:57

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass urged Angelenos Thursday to oppose a state ballot measure known as The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, should it appear on the Nov. 2024 ballot.

At a morning news conference, standing at a podium with a poster reading "Vote No: The Taxpayer Deception Act" on it, Bass said the measure is trying to trick voters into believing government doesn't need any money to function.

"If this measure were to pass, it would cripple our ability to provide the services that our cities need, that our schools need," Bass said. 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a nonprofit that advocates against raising taxes in California, said the measure restores and reinforces important taxpayer protections.

"The mayor and city council would like it to be easier to raise taxes, because they have overspent the city into a huge budget deficit," the HJTA wrote in a statement.

If approved by voters in Nov. 2024, The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act would basically put all tax increases, at the state and local level, before voters. The measure would also reclassify many government fees as taxes and apply retroactively to any increase approved after Jan. 1, 2022.

State leaders have argued that the measure would inhibit the state's ability to quickly respond to major emergencies such as natural disasters, economic downturns or as recently demonstrated, during a pandemic.

Right now, the measure is in court. Governor Gavin Newsom filed a lawsuit last fall seeking to have the measure removed from the ballot saying it would change the power of taxation assigned by the California Constitution to the Legislature and weaken the executive branch's administrative and regulatory powers.

Opponents of the measure say it would effectively, and unlawfully, amend the state constitution without going through the usual process of ratification at a constitutional convention or two-thirds approval in the Legislature, followed by a measure put before voters. The measure would take away lawmakers' ability to impose taxes and leave them only with the power to propose them, said Margaret Prinzing, who represented Newsom and the Legislature.

The high court is expected to rule by June 27, the deadline for measures to qualify for the ballot.

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