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Some Say Prop 56 Could Cause More Taxes

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Californians already pay among the highest tax rates in the country, according to a national tax education group. But the Tax Foundation believes the bite could get even bigger if voters approve Proposition 56 on the March ballot.

The measure would allow state lawmakers to pass a budget and new taxes with just a 55 percent majority. Currently, it takes two-thirds of the Legislature to approve the budget and tax increases.

The Washington-based foundation notes that even under existing law, taxes in California have increased well above the national average over the last decade. If the threshold is reduced, they warn, taxpayers can expect to pay even more because lawmakers will find it easier to raise taxes than negotiate spending cuts.

Supporters of the measure say they want to break partisan politics in the Capitol. They point out that the state budget has been late 18 of the last 22 years because lawmakers struggle to gain the votes required for passage.

The proposition would also prevent the governor and legislators from collecting their salaries and expenses when the budget is late.