Why California Republicans Fear a June Election

by Randy Shaw on February 28, 2011

As Republican legislators oppose a June election to extend existing taxes, the common explanation is that nearly all signed a “no new taxes” pledge and fear a primary challenge or recall led by Grover Norquist if they vote for the election to proceed. But that’s not the real reason for Republican opposition. GOP legislators greater fear is that voter approval of the tax extensions will undermine their argument that they are simply deferring to the popular will in opposing all tax or fee hikes. An election outcome that shows California voters willing to extend taxes also leaves the GOP and its base without a credible political position for future budget negotiations — the last thing the steadily shrinking Party wants. If Republicans really believe that voters will reject the tax extensions, they would put the measures on the June ballot in a heartbeat.

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