The California Supreme Court has struck down an anti-tax measure that had qualified for the November ballot through a signature drive, saying that it violates state constitutional procedure.

The initiative, brought by business interests, is called the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, and if it passed it would have required voters to approve any and all tax increases passed by the state Legislature, and it would mandated that all local tax measures be passed by two-thirds majority votes — which is something that is already done here under the San Francisco charter.

As the Associated Press notes, the initiative also sought to retroactively reverse all tax increases that had been passed since January 1, 2022.

Newsom and legislative leaders sued to block the measure last fall, and now the state Supreme Court has ruled in their favor, saying that the ballot measure amounted to an illegal attempt to revise the state Contitution.

Writing for the court's unanimous seven-member majority, Justice Goodwin Liu says that the proposed taxation changes "are within the electorate’s prerogative to enact, but because those changes would substantially alter our basic plan of government, the proposal cannot be enacted by initiative." Liu writes that such changes would be "governed by the procedures for revising our Constitution" which have to be submitted to voters by a supermajority of the Legislature or a constitutional convention.

Voters would be permitted to amend the constitution, Liu explains, but not revise it, in this manner.

The court added that the measure also would have "strip[ped] the Legislature of authority to promptly raise revenues" in the event of a financial crisis or natural disaster.

This is the first time in over 20 years the state's high court has blocked a measure from reaching the ballot, as Cal Matters reports. Though, as the Chronicle notes, there was that 2018 measure to divide the state into three states, which the court struck down but it was then withdrawn by its sponsor.

State Senator Scott Wiener praised the court's decision today, saying in a statement that the ballot measure was "designed to tear down state and local government and make it impossible to fund basic services like police, fire, and education."

But others cast the court as being in the pocket of Democratic leaders.

"Clearly, the state Supreme Court has now sent a signal that they are part of the progressive agenda in California, that we are a one-party state in California and there is no independent judiciary in California anymore," said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable which supported the measure, at a press conference Thursday, per Cal Matters.

"There is no independent judiciary in California anymore,” Lapsley also said. “Be scared. Because it’s only going to get worse.”

Ominously, Lapsley added, "This, for us, is just a battle in the bigger war. We will be back. They have no idea what’s coming."

Top image: Wil Stewart