By Peter Schrag
The estimable Joel Fox, former head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and now president of the anti-tax Small Business Action Committee, used to complain vehemently about the tendency of some on the left to blame all of California’s ills on Proposition 13.
Fox, who’s as thoughtful as he is conservative, was – is – partly right. California had plenty of problems even before June 6, 1978. It’s had lots since that didn’t have the remotest connection with Howard Jarvis’ famous stink bomb.
But last week’s budget wrestle in Sacramento was another reminder of how much of our mess was set off by the initiative and the orgy of other ballot measures and related legislative fixes that came in its wake.
The biggest example, bigger even than the Proposition 13 property tax cap, is the requirement that the legislature cannot pass any tax increase without a two-thirds vote – effectively a grant of veto power to any minority party or group, now almost always Republicans, that can muster one third of the votes, plus one, in either house.