Standing for taxpayers and direct democracy

By Jon Coupal and Timothy Bittle | The powers of direct democracy — initiative, referendum and recall — have been powerful tools to control slow-moving or corrupt politicians.

These powers are enshrined in the California constitution for reasons that are just as compelling in 2020 as they were in 1911 when Gov. Hiram Johnson, seeking to counterbalance the influence the railroads had over the state Capitol, pushed to give ordinary citizens equal footing with legislative bodies to enact or reject legislative proposals.

Direct democracy has, for more than 100 years, been used most frequently on matters of taxation and government spending.

Indeed the most iconic example of direct democracy in the Golden State is Proposition 13, approved by the voters in 1978.

It is no wonder then that taxpayer advocates have been the staunchest defenders of direct democracy.

That tradition carries on to this very day.

Last Tuesday, the California Supreme Court heard argument in a case that threatens one of these powers of direct democracy — the referendum power.

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