California Supreme Court Removes Unconstitutional Anti-Tax Initiative from Ballot

The California Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that the “Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act” (TPA) must be removed from the November 2024 ballot, because it is an unconstitutional attempt to use the initiative process to revise, rather than merely amend, California’s Constitution. The Court granted the petition for writ of mandate filed by the Legislature of the State of California, Governor Gavin Newsom, and former state Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton.

Altshuler Berzon LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of SEIU California State Council (SEIU California) supporting the petition challenging the TPA. The brief argued that the TPA would revise, rather than amend, the Constitution by fundamentally changing the basic structure of government. In particular, the brief argued that the TPA would (1) entirely abolish the Legislature’s foundational power to tax; (2) eliminate the power of government to respond to emergencies by adopting a revenue-generating measure that takes effect immediately; and (3) impose profound and devastating effects on essential government services.

The Court agreed with the petitioners and SEIU California that the TPA would make sweeping changes to the fundamental structure of government in California, substantially altering the basic plan of government. The TPA therefore proposed a constitutional revision, which cannot be adopted by initiative.

The California Supreme Court’s decision is available here.

SEIU California’s amicus brief in support of the petition challenging the TPA is available here.