A last-ditch effort by the California legislature to halt the Internet tax ballot initiative failed yesterday in the Senate. The legislation (AB 155) would have repealed then immediately re-enacted the Internet tax that was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in June. Only the new bill would contain an urgency clause—a provision that would make it impossible to be put to a referendum. While lawmakers supported the bill in a 22-12 vote, it required a two-thirds supermajority to pass. Fortunately, the Republican caucus held strong against imposing the tax.
While some California legislators wanted to completely disregard the will of the voters and take away their ability to vote on such an important issue, their efforts to do this were diverted for the time being. The Senate has another opportunity to bring up AB 155 before the end of session this Friday.
Hopefully, Golden State voters will remember this attempt to circumvent democracy when voting on the measure next year. Until then, and unless AB 155 re-emerges, the race is on to explain to Californians why this Internet tax is an affront to the U.S. Constitution and a massive, job-killing tax hike.