We’ve all been told that the attempt to recall California Governor Gray Davis is wild and crazy. Not so many realize that the state’s voters have probably already benefited just from having the recall measure on the ballot. But Michael New of the Cato Institute has noticed.
New notes that with a $38-billion deficit hanging like smog over the California legislature, those who wanted taxes to go through the roof had a lot of leverage. Yet the eventual budget compromise wasn’t anywhere near as tax-happy as some had feared. Why not? New says that a couple factors prevented the super-tax-hikes. One is California’s super-majority requirement to pass tax hikes. If all it took in California to boost taxes were a simple majority of the legislature, the pro-taxers would probably have won hands down. But the anti-taxers stood their ground. New believes that, “In the end, it was the recall effort that saved California taxpayers.
With Davis’s popularity hovering at Nixonian levels, Davis and Assembly Democrats realized that any substantial tax hikes would damage his chances of surviving the recall. Consequently, they were more willing to agree to a budget compromise that did not involve a substantial tax increase.” I agree with New that Democrats probably would have been more stubborn about tax hikes without this political reality punching them in the nose.
This argument isn’t quite new with New. The citizen initiative has always given voters greater control over their government. A good thing, too.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.