Rescue California, the campaign committee funded by Rep. Darrell Issa to gather signatures for last years recall campaign, has morphed into Rescue California from budget deficits and will sponsor a spending limit initiative that it hopes to place on the November ballot. The measure is largely patterned after a limit authored by Assemblyman John Campbell and Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and offered as the most conservative alternative during Decembers debate over spending limits and reserve requirements. It would cap spending growth at the rate of population growth and inflation, with half of any revenue above that amount going toward an accelerated repayment of Schwarzeneggers $15 billion bond, if that passes in March. The other half would go to a new budget reserve that could reach 10 percent of the general fund. Excess monies after that would be split between school construction and sales tax reductions.
Given Rescue Californias access to thousands of small donors and activists who participated in the recall petition drive, the groups chance of collecting the 600,000 valid signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot are excellent. That would put Schwarzenegger on the spot. He campaigned for a spending limit and proposed one in December but backed off in favor of a compromise with Democrats that gave him only a modest reserve requirement and some restrictions against future borrowing. He has said he would not seek to place a stricter limit on the ballot. But will he oppose one if others qualify it?