By Torey Van Oot
tvanoot@sacbee.com
The Sacramento Bee
Published: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

What to expect in 2012?

Jon Coupal is preparing for “nuclear war.”

As the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Coupal will play a critical role in the effort to defeat any tax increases up for a vote next year.

He’ll also be on the offensive. His group has proposed a spending limit and is backing another measure to curb unions’ political influence by banning paycheck deductions to build campaign war chests.

Fighting revenue measures at the ballot box is not new turf for the 56-year-old leader of the group founded by Howard Jarvis, the driving force behind Proposition 13. Coupal has served at the helm for the last 10 years, scoring victories as voters rejected seven statewide tax increase proposals.

The nonprofit bills itself as a grassroots organization and raised $6.7 million in 2009, according to its tax filing.

But Coupal notes he’s been outspent before, and has on his side a mailing list of 200,000 members – a third of whom he says are Democrats – and anti-tax credibility that comes with the Jarvis name.

He said he’ll try to exploit a Legislature that lacks the confidence of Californians.

“The Legislature does these crazy things. It’s a very easy sell to the voters to say, ‘They want more money from you, while they’re (giving staff raises), while they’re doing high-speed rail, while they’re doing, quite frankly, the Dream Act,’ ” he said, adding: “Every day that building gives us another nugget that we take to voters.”

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