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Jerry Brown's tax measure faces legal challenge

June 29, 2012 | 10:30 am

  A challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal by Pasadena attorney Molly Munger is set to be heard in Sacramento Superior Court

Molly Munger is ready for her day in court. 

A case brought by Munger, the Pasadena attorney who has refused to drop her tax proposal for the November ballot despite intense pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown and his allies, is set to be heard in Sacramento Superior Court this afternoon. Her goal is to move Brown's tax initiative down the order on the ballot.

Thanks to a bill signed by Brown earlier this week, his proposal to raise levies on annual incomes of more than $250,000 and state sales is slated to appear second on the ballot, right below an $11-billion water bond placed there by lawmakers in 2009.

But Munger says state lawmakers engaged in "an abuse of the political process and legislative power" to ensure prime ballot placement for the governor's measure, and she wants a court to intervene.

Earlier this week, Brown signed a bill that would place constitutional amendments like his above all other initiatives on the ballot -- a move that could help the measure's prospects for passage in the fall. The measure was introduced in the Legislature on Monday and passed without a single committee hearing or Republican vote.

Democrats used a loophole in state law to pass the measure with a simple majority vote and to provide that it would go into effect immediately, instead of on Jan. 1, when most new laws come on the books. The legislation also allocated $1,000 to the Secretary of State's office to enact the changes -- money a spokeswoman for that office said was a surprise, but surely welcome.   

Munger's case also charges that election officials in Los Angeles and Alameda counties "failed to comply with their statutory duty" that would have placed her measure above Brown's on the ballot.

RELATED:

Gov. Jerry Brown signs California budget

Rivals of Jerry Brown submit signatures for tax initiative

Wealthy California siblings crusade for divergent political causes

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Molly Munger. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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