By: Michael Vallante

Regardless of your political party or persuasion, one thing all of us can agree on – there are minimal checks and balances on our state government here in the Golden State. That’s why California politicians can get away with parliamentary procedures to stifle the voice and the will of the people. That kind of domination hurts California workers, California families, and California businesses.

While California is known for its progressive laws and diverse communities, California state government is basically a monolith of people of the same beliefs who are threatened every time the citizens raise their voices. They have complete and total power over all the levers of government and use them at will to ensure that checks and balances to their reign of control are not threatened.

A case in point is the “gut-and-amend” process in Sacramento recently used as most Californians were preparing for a tropical storm!

Right before the August 18 weekend, Sacramento politicians introduced a constitutional amendment named ACA 13. This proposal would make it easier for politicians and their special interest backers to rig the system in their favor to raise fees and taxes every time you reach into your pocket. The sneaky maneuver takes away the constitutional rights of voters to be the check-and-balance for the Legislature and courts.

Over the past few decades, the only saving grace for California workers and taxpayers is the protections given to them by Proposition 13. ACA 13 would strip that away. The already high taxes and fees would increase, making life even more expensive. It would strip your right to be the check and balance against a political system that takes more money out of your business, your pocket, and your family every single day.

ACA 13 would be a giant machete chopping down the taxpayer protections created by Proposition 13.

In 1978, after Californians lost their homes because of the uncontrolled increase in property taxes and renters and small business owners were socked with higher payments, voters rose to say, “No More!” When Proposition 13 passed, the voters of California put the politicians in check, and taxpayers breathed a sigh of relief.

Proposition 13 has been a lifeboat for many, especially those with limited and fixed incomes.

But ACA 13 would significantly reduce voters’ power to pass ballot measures that would protect California workers and restrict our ability to be a check-and-balance on the politicians. Instead, ACA 13 gives even more power and control of our lives and livelihoods to special interest groups who control the California Legislature.

ACA 13 requires any citizen initiative on the ballot to get 60% of the vote. Ironically, however, if the California Legislature wants to raise taxes, raise fees, and pull more money out of your pocket, it only takes a simple majority of the Legislature.

ACA 13 effectively shuts down, shuts up, and shuts off our state’s working people and businesses to self-governing. It also removes voters’ power to reinstate their will when the courts interfere or weaken laws they pass.

This proposed constitutional amendment is a threat to everyone. And it is just another of the many reasons why people and businesses are leaving our state.

The initiative system was created to give voters in California the power to correct course when politicians do things that aren’t right. However, ACA 13 is not just another constitutional amendment. It seeks to undo that legacy by giving the politicians even more power at the expense of the people.

The bottom line is that ACA 13 is just the latest example of how California workers, California businesses, and California families work for the California government, not for their families or their future.

Michael Vallante is a Rhode Island native who provides consulting and strategic communications services for small businesses and non-profits nationwide. From 2017-20, Vallante was the US Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations, overseeing the 68 district offices around the country and the management of SBA’s capital, contracting, and counseling programs serving small businesses.