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Fiscal conservatives seeking a constitutional cap on state spending suggested Tuesday they likely will wait until 2014.

Proponents have been concerned that the state spending cap would be buried on the November ballot with tax initiatives and a proposal to limit union dues collection, said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The California Taxpayers Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Small Business Action Committee want to reset the state's spending limit at the 2010-11 level. They would cap spending growth based on a formula tied to population and cost-of-living increases. The measure was cleared for circulation on Feb. 8, but proponents have yet to gather signatures.

Waiting until 2014 could be a blow for the California Republican Party. Chairman Tom Del Beccaro in recent weeks has touted the spending cap initiative as central to motivating GOP voters to polls in November and winning targeted legislative races.

"There was no question we had the resources to qualify," Coupal said. "The issue was whether the business community was having second thoughts about whether we'd have the resources to run a credible campaign. I think they looked at the political landscape much like we did and saw some of the tax measures on the ballot and some of the proposals in the Legislature and felt like the timing was not right for spending cap."

Coupal said some major backers could still decide they want to qualify the measure for November, though he said, "I don't think that's likely." Officials at the California Taxpayers Association and Small Business Action Committee said they are considering their options at the moment.

"If we started now, we'd be a little behind the 8-ball," Coupal said. "Because we have not yet engaged a signature-gathering firm, we'd have to pay a premium to qualify for November. Other initiatives are out there getting signatures right now, so the costs are significant.'

Proponents said that if they don't pursue the measure for 2012, they intend to put it on the ballot in 2014.



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