The Tax Referendums

One of the few hints that Jerry Brown, the all-but-certain Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has given of his plans as governor is this: He won't raise taxes without a vote of the people.

Focus on the caveat: without a vote of the people. Brown may be bracing Californians for a series of voter referendums on tax hikes.

Such referendums are a growth industry. Over the past year, voters in Oregon and Arizona have approved tax hikes. Why? Voters responded to careful campaigns that showed them exactly what would be done with the money.

Will this work in California? It's hard to tell. For those who want to raise taxes to cover at least part of the state's budget deficit, the victory of a sales tax increase in Arizona, a much more conservative place than California, would seem to bode well. But Californians rejected temporary tax increases during a special election last year.

Over at Fox & Hounds Daily, Loren Kaye offers more smart thinking on this question.

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