An ambitious effort to dramatically overhaul the way California governments tax their citizens is being funded by the soda industry, kicking off what could become the most expensive political contest in the country this year.

A new campaign committee organized by the California Business Roundtable — and initially funded by the American Beverage Association — is collecting signatures for a constitutional amendment aimed at November’s ballot that would require any new tax or fee levied by the state to win two-thirds supermajorities in the legislature, a difficult hurdle to clear.

The measure would also require local governments to put any tax or fee increase on the ballot, subject to the same two-thirds vote.

Proponents say amending the state constitution is necessary to rein in a liberal legislature that has a penchant for raising taxes, even in one of the best economic situations in years.

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