Home>Articles>Assembly Republican Leader Gallagher Files Legal Brief Supportive of Taxpayer Protection Initiative

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Assembly Republican Leader Gallagher Files Legal Brief Supportive of Taxpayer Protection Initiative

Gov. Newsom/Dems asked the California Supreme Court to have Taxpayer Protection Act removed from the ballot

By Katy Grimes, February 5, 2024 3:00 am

The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, would give voters final approval on future taxes and fees imposed by state and local governments. The measure has already qualified for the November 2024 ballot.

However, Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative Democrats want the California Supreme Court to pull the initiative from the ballot before voters can vote on it.

Unsurprisingly, polls found a majority of Californian voters actually liked the measure, with many saying that the Taxpayer Protection Act would do as the name of the act said and would give them more say in what taxes are moved forward, the Globe reported.

“The Taxpayer Protection Act was written to restore a series of voter-approved ballot measures that gave taxpayers, not politicians, more say over when and how new tax revenue is raised,” explained HJTA President Jon Coupal. “Over the past decade, the California courts have created massive loopholes and confusion in long-established tax law and policy. The Taxpayer Protection Act closes those loopholes and provides new safeguards to increase accountability and transparency over how politicians spend our tax dollars.”

According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association the measure would amend the state constitution do the following if passed:

  • Require all new taxes passed by the Legislature to be approved by voters
  • Restore two-thirds voter approval for all new local special tax increases
  • Clearly define what is a tax or fee
  • Require truthful descriptions of new tax proposals
  • Hold politicians accountable by requiring them to clearly identify how revenue will be spent before any tax or fee is enacted
  •  New taxes and fees imposed starting in 2022 unless approved by voters will be canceled within a year of the act going into effect

The initiative is supported by the California Business Roundtable, the California Business Properties Association, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and has been endorsed by the California Chamber of Commerce.

However, former Governor Jerry Brown, Gov. Gavin Newsom and many other legislative Democrats oppose the Taxpayer Protection Act, claiming the Act “threatens voter rights” and “goes against local services.” The League of California Cities even tried to paint the measure as nothing more as a way for corporations and businesses to get out of paying some taxes, the Globe reported.

They’ve taken their opposition to the California Supreme Court to have it removed from the ballot. Governor Gavin Newsom and Democratic state legislators sent a petition to the California Supreme Court, urging them to remove the measure from the November 2024 ballot because of it infringing on the rights of lawmakers to institute taxes and it being an unlawful California constitution revision.

In response, Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) filed an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court, opposing Newsom’s and Democratic Legislative leaders’ lawsuit to remove the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act preemptively from the November 2024 ballot. Gallagher was joined on the amicus brief by former Democratic Legislators Don Perata and Joe Coto, along with the California Farm Bureau Federation, his office reported Friday.

“In a stunning attempt to undermine California voters’ authority, the governor and Legislative leaders are taking the near unprecedented action of using the courts to stop Californians from deciding a ballot measure,” said Gallagher. “The governor often claims to be a champion of democracy, yet he is afraid of letting voters decide whether they deserve commonsense protections on how California spends their money. This amicus brief is a way to give a voice to the millions of Californians who want a greater say in how they are taxed.”

Gallagher’s amicus brief “counters many of the arguments made in the governor’s lawsuit, including the claim that creating a voter approval requirement on state taxes is not allowed under California’s democracy system,” Gallagher’s office reported. “The amicus brief rightfully points out that the Taxpayer Protection Act builds on the foundation created by Proposition 13 and other popular voter-approved taxpayer rights ballot measures that courts have upheld. It also counters the argument that the Taxpayer Protection Act will cause a fiscal emergency for state and local governments, identifying that government agencies have complied with similar voter initiatives in the past.”

“As an additional insult to voters, there was never a vote by the Legislature authorizing the lawsuit or using public funds to pay for it,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher’s brief explains the reasons:

First, the Taxpayer Protection Act can best be understood as evolutionary, not  revolutionary. Whatever speculative parade of horribles Petitioner predicts consequent to its passage, the TPA is the product of a nearly half-century  struggle to articulate the boundaries of voter desire for tax limitation with  sufficient clarity. Never has this Court found an initiative singularly focused on  limiting the power of taxation to be a ‘revision’ to the Constitution. (See Amador  Valley Jt. Un. High Sch. v. State Bd. Of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 227. [“To  conclude, however, that the mere imposition of tax limitations, per se,  accomplishes a constitutional revision would in effect bar the people from ever  achieving any local tax relief through the initiative process.”].)(Emphasis in  original.) Proscribing tax limitation by initiative would strike at a driving purpose  of the people’s reserve power of initiative. (See Rossi v. Brown (1995) 9 Cal.4th  688, 699 [“taxation was not only a permitted subject for the initiative, but was an intended object of that power.”].)

Second, Petitioner’s request for this Court’s extraordinary intervention  to preclude the exercise of voters’ “most precious of rights” (Associated Home  Builders etc., Inc. v. City of Livermore (1976) 18 Cal.3d 582, 591; Amador Valley, supra at p. 219), is wholly unnecessary as Petitioners’ allegations are entirely within the Court’s power to consider after the November elections should the TPA be  approved by voters. Petitioners’ catalog of calamities warranting this  “emergency” writ, while keeping with tradition for opposing any tax limitations, fails to account for State or local government’s evident abundance.


Petitioners  must establish clear and compelling reasons supporting interference by this Court  (Farley v. Healey (1967) 67 Cal.2d 325). Petitioners’ must show that the type of  initiative at issue either alters the substantial entirety of the Constitution or the  comprehensive powers of one or more branches of government. (Amador Valley,  supra; Raven, supra).

The lawsuit remains ongoing and must be decided before June 27, the final day an initiative can be placed on the November ballot.

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6 thoughts on “Assembly Republican Leader Gallagher Files Legal Brief Supportive of Taxpayer Protection Initiative

  1. It is good to see that the Dems are afraid of the Tax Payer Protection Act. Just like Prop. 13 which they have been trying to repeal since the voters passed it in 1978. This party does not believe in democracy.

  2. Take a glance at your most recent property tax bill, your most recent state income tax bill, the current budget deficit, consider the deteriorating schools, roads, and infrastructure, or think about the ramifications of extending Medi Cal to illegal migrants.

    This is a momentous event in our heavily taxed state. Politicians should not be able to get away with their opposition and should be called out at every opportunity. Garvey’s Senatorial campaign should lead the way.

  3. I wholeheartedly support this effort. However, the California Supreme Court would have to rule against the Governor and Legislature. Even if that happens, the public employee unions and Soros- style dark money will be used to defeat the initiative. Lastly, supporters of the initiative will have to overcome cries that the proposal is “A Threat to Democracy!!!” Millions of moron voters will likely fall for that nonsense.

    1. Not only will it be called “A Threat to Democracy”, but the left’s favorite word: rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrracist!

  4. Good to see that Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher is supporting the measure and is standing up to the criminal Democrat mafia gang and deep-state WEF globalist tyrants like Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. Hopefully other Republicans will support the measure as well but don’t expect much from Republican Chairperson Jessica Patterson and the rest of the traitorous RINOs?

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