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    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n Sues To Overturn VLF "Car Tax" Hike

    (July 1, 2003) -- The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed suit challenging the Davis administration's recent action -- taken administratively under previously enacted legislation -- that will effectively trigger a tripling of CA's Vehicle License Fee (VLF) or "car tax."

    The lawsuit challenges the Davis administration's contention that the VLF increase (which will roughly triple registration costs for most car owners) is lawfully "triggered" by the state’s need for cash, when Article 13A (Proposition 13) of the CA Constitution says a two-thirds vote of both the CA Assembly and CA Senate are required to raise taxes.

    The Jarvis group says that in addition to violating Proposition 13, the proposed tax increase violates the constitutional doctrine of "separation of powers" as well as an unlawful delegation of the power to raise a tax.

    In a written release, HJTA president Jon Coupal said, "The notion that a $4 billion tax increase can just happen by itself is absurd. Unfortunately, this proposed tax increase is reflective of the current political leadership’s habit of avoiding responsibility."

    The taxpayer group says its lawsuit is entitled to calendar preference and could be resolved within months...but an injunction to prevent the tax from being collected is not available under CA law.

    "Regrettably, many Californians may have to pay this tax while we are challenging its validity. But we will do everything we can to move the case along," said HJTA Director of Legal Affairs, Timothy Bittle.

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