Prop 1A Changes...But Not on Taxes

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A long court hearing today over the ballot title and summary for the budget spending limit Proposition 1A resulted in a judge finding some of the language crafted by the Legislature "misleading," but refusing to more clearly link the measure to its impact on the budget tax increase.

The ruling will likely please some and frustrate others who argued that lawmakers were specifically trying to make Prop 1A as attractive as possible to voters in the May 19 special election.

Sacrammento Superior Judge Michael Kinney ruled that words such as "overspending"-- used to describe the kinds of budget actions Prop 1A would arguably end -- weren't objective enough for the ballot. Now, the ballot summary will say that 1A would limit future "spending," not "overspending."

But not all word changes demanded by the petitioners were agreed to by the judge. And in a blow to one of the lawsuit's petitioners, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Kinney didn't order Prop 1A to include language that explains how its passage will lead to a longer period of tax increases.

Just how much the original words would have influenced voters remains debatable; but for now, the issue seems to be left to the political campaigns now being waged... and not the verbage of the measures at the center of those campaigns.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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