Jon Coupal

Jon Coupal

Jon Coupal is the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA). HJTA, with offices in both Los Angeles and Sacramento, is the largest taxpayers association in California with a membership of over 200,000. Founded by the late Howard Jarvis, the author of Proposition 13, HJTA’s name is synonymous with tax relief and the uncompromising defense of the California homeowner. From 1991 to 1998, Coupal served as Director of Legal Affairs for HJTA, overseeing the organization’s litigation and lobbying efforts. He is a recognized expert in California fiscal affairs and has argued numerous tax cases before the courts. Coupal also successfully defended Proposition 140, the state's term limit initiative, before the California Supreme Court. In 1995, he won a major ruling before the Supreme Court when it upheld the validity of Proposition 62, an HJTA sponsored initiative guaranteeing the right to vote on local taxes. He is also the principal drafter of Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, a measure passed by the voters in November 1996. He has served as chairman of several initiative campaigns representing the interests of taxpayers including his most recent battle against Proposition 88, the statewide parcel tax initiative, defeated by the voters in November of 2006. Coupal is also Chairman of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Foundation which provides funding for taxpayer rights litigation and educational studies. Coupal is a graduate of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, where he received his J.D. degree in 1982. After law school, he was an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation for nine years, specializing in tax issues and political law. He resides in Sacramento, California with his wife Catherine, daughter Elena and son Adam.

Proposition 32 is the most important political reform measure to be placed before California voters in decades. If passed, it would surpass Governor Scott Walker’s successful ballot measure in Wisconsin last year. Moreover, it would be the “shot heard ‘round the political world” as it would fundamentally change the way special interests are required to operate in the realm of California politics.

Today, we live under a corrupt system of government in California. Public employee pensions and benefits are wreaking fiscal havoc on the Golden State and have already begun to bankrupt a growing number of municipalities.

Nevertheless, our elected officials continue to fund those lavish unsustainable benefits because the special interests line their pockets with political contributions. Watchdog groups such as Maplight.org reveal that 79% of donors to California state legislators now live outside of the district, thus representing the special interest over the constituents’ interests. According to the San Jose Mercury News, approximately 40 of legislative bills in 2010 were written by lobbyists and outside interests – and those bills were twice as likely to become law.

That would change under Proposition 32, which prohibits government contractors from making contributions to the very elected officials who approve their contracts. It bars corporations, unions, and government employers from collecting political contributions through involuntary payroll deduction. And it requires employers simply “ask first” before taking an employee’s hard-earned money and spending it on political contributions on the employee’s behalf, on issues they don’t support.

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