In 2002, Santa Clara passed an initiative that raised a fee $20 per year per household for open spaces and recreation. It passed by a clear majority.
Fast forward and a group (I think their official name is Mr and Ms Average Tax-Hating Californians – MaMATHC) sued claiming that it was a tax, not a fee and therefore required 2/3 rather than a simple majority. The California Supreme Court agreed.
Fast forward a bit more and MaMATHC won a class action lawsuit to get that money (7 years of it) refunded (with $7m going to Grabbit and Run LLC in lawyers fees, not to mention the costs of administering the refund).
I just got my claim form in the mail yesterday. I can join the class action and claim back 7yrs x $20. In a reversal of the usual taxpayer revolt, I tore mine up. I’d rather my tax money go to open spaces.
I think this little affair is a neat microcosm of the state problems as a whole.
- Legislature is powerless because of term limits so …
- All the important stuff happens by the initative process but…
- The initiative process is a blunt instrument and hard to wield effectively so…
- It results in wacky ideas like long term commitments to spending, impossible to increase taxes, and…
- Term limits
..and so the cycle repeats.
Because we don’t expect the legislature to actually do anything (that’s what the initiative process is for) they don’t. Instead they cluster around the wingnut/moonbat extremities and obstruct obstruct obstruct.
We are prisoners to the extremists at either end of the political spectrum.
I wish we had a do-over on the California Consitution and started by getting rid of the initiative process.
You don’t get a dog and then bark yourself.