Real estate developers, corporate landlords, and big business are once again working to dupe California voters into letting them off the hook from paying their fair share of taxes. Californians are already fighting a corporate agenda on every front. From budget cuts to skyrocketing rents, “tough on crime” policies to homelessness, the climate crisis to the culture wars, and anti-tax measures to threats to our democracy, our communities are under attack. By avoiding their fair share of taxes, they undermine the programs and services that keep us safe, like public safety, healthcare, and environmental protections. 

This general election, the corporate empire is striking back at the progress voters have made in the last 20+ years – by putting a new deceptive measure on the ballot this November. We don’t need any more corporate agendas on our ballots.

The official name of this initiative is the “Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (Initiative 1935).” It’s sponsored by the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), California Business Properties Association, and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. These associations are known for representing California’s wealthiest corporations and their interests – from real estate developers, to oil, insurance and drug companies.

Who’s Funding the Taxpayer Deception Act?

Behind the Taxpayer Deception Act are:

  • Rob Lapsley, CBRT President, and Tom McKernan, CBRT Board Chair:
    Right-wing corporate backers with dark money investments who’ve opposed major statewide tax revenue and rent control measures
  • Wayne Berman, Blackstone Group: Largest landlord and driver of rent gouging and evictions in California
  • Rick Caruso, CBRT Board Member: Billionaire developer and the main funder of a pro-development initiative that will speed gentrification in Los Angeles
  • John Kilroy, Kilroy Realty: Infamous for evicting 577 poor and working-class families in West Los Angeles
  • Michael Hayde, Western National Group: Orange County Republican and Trump donor with a net worth of millions

These corporate players have a very long history of spending millions in CA elections to boost their bottom line and avoid commercial, industrial, and property taxes. Combined, they’ve spent $40 million opposing Prop 15,, $30 million opposing rent control propositions,, and $20 million qualifying the “Taxpayer Protection Act” as a ballot initiative this election (so far).

How Would the Taxpayer Deception Act Work?

The Taxpayer Deception Act would undermine the will of the voter by restricting local governments from funding essential services, including but not limited to: schools, emergency and disaster response, and homelessness services. 

The Taxpayer Deception Act is made up of three major components that deceive taxpayers:

  1. Require voter approval for ALL state taxes – no longer giving elected representatives authority to establish state taxes, even in emergencies like natural disasters or pandemics.
  2. Require a ⅔ vote to pass any local funding measures – allowing just ⅓ of voters to block the will of the majority. This gives a disproportionate amount of power to a small minority to block the majority rule.
  3. Apply retroactively to January 1, 2022 – nullifying over 140 state & local funding measures that have already been passed! This would drastically cut funding for vital city programs that are already underfunded.

Additionally, the retroactivity clause will:

  • Cut billions from state and local governments and force cuts to safety net services.
  • Overturn funding for paid family leave, disability insurance, gun violence prevention, and climate programs.
  • Threaten the safety of roads, freeways, and bridges by permanently eliminating billions in road repair and infrastructure funding.
  • Exacerbate the deficit by creating unbalanced budgets through the nullifying of existing funding streams.

This proposition reveals how corporate greed comes at the expense of our communities. State & local governments pass funding measures every year for programs & services that the majority in our communities want, like  health care, housing, roads, fire safety, libraries, parks & so many others. With the passing of this deceptive proposition, measures that improve our communities would be very unlikely to pass in the future.

It’s crucial that we stand together as Californians to defend our democracy, uphold the will of the voters, and protect our essential services.

Take a stand today: Help endorse and build a united front of opposition at Save California’s future!