August 29th, 2007
Initiative 960 would cost taxpayers millions
The state Office of Financial Management has released a statement analyzing the potential financial impacts of I-960. It’s not pretty:
Initiative 960 would result in added costs to prepare ten-year cost projections for proposed state tax and fee increases, to notify legislators and the public about proposed revenue legislation, and to conduct advisory votes on tax increases approved by the Legislature. Costs are estimated to be up to $1.8 million a year, including $1.2 million for local election expenses. Local government pays election costs in even-numbered years. The state pays a pro-rated share in odd-numbered years. Actual election costs for any particular year will depend on the number of tax measures referred to an advisory vote.
Most of the money is for election related expenses (remember, elections cost money) to handle the nonbinding, useless advisory votes that I-960 would implement, if it takes effect.
An advisory vote, a new form of referendum, would be automatically triggered when a tax increase is passed into law by a two thirds supermajority (the high bar stipulated by I-960). Both the advisory vote gimmick, which is meant to give voters the false impression that their taxes are skyrocketing, and the two thirds limits run afoul of the state Constitution.
The state Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the legal challenge to strike I-960 from the statewide ballot next week.