(CN) – Voters were not misled by the language of a ballot initiative that set penalties for lawmakers who miss budget deadlines, a California appeals court ruled.
Proposition 25, which voters passed on Nov. 2 by a 55-45 percent margin, changed the requirement for budget legislation from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority.
Under the new legislation, elected officials would lose their salary and expenses for every day the budget is late. Before Proposition 25, there was no penalty if the California legislature failed to pass the following year’s budget by the June 15 deadline.
Sacramento County Superior Court ruled that the title of Proposition 25 was misleading and should be changed to delete the language “Retains Two-Thirds Vote Required for Taxes.”
After State Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. and Yes on 25 (Citizens for an On-Time Budget) appealed the decision, the Sacramento-based Third District California Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling and ordered no change to the proposition title.
“The challenged language does not misleadingly suggest that approval of Proposition 25 is necessary to maintain the existing two-thirds vote requirement for raising taxes,” Justice Arthur Scotland wrote. “And we find nothing in the substantive provisions of Proposition 25 that would allow the legislature to circumvent the existing constitutional requirement of a two-thirds vote to raise taxes.”