Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act of 2010

The "Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act of 2010" qualified for the November ballot on June 22, 2010. If this measure is passed, it would prohibit the state from borrowing or redirecting cash from local government property taxes, gasoline taxes, local transit and redevelopment funds and other locally-issued taxes in order to balance the state budget. An alliance of local government groups, including the League of California Cities, filed the measure with the California Attorney General on October 20, 2009 and 1.1 million signatures were gathered by April 29th. The official ballot title of the measure is: “Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.” The official description states:

“Prohibits the State from shifting, taking, borrowing, or restricting the use of tax revenues dedicated by law to fund local government services, community redevelopment projects, or transportation projects and services. Prohibits the State from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for these purposes even when the Governor deems it necessary due to a severe state fiscal hardship. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Significant constraints on state authority over city, county, special district, and redevelopment agency funds. As a result, higher and more stable local resources, potentially affecting billions of dollars in some years. Commensurate reductions in state resources, resulting in major decreases in state spending and/or increases in state revenues.”

With the measure’s passage, local funds for public safety, emergency response, and other local government services would be protected from state interference, meaning local taxpayer dollars would go toward cities, counties, and redevelopment agencies that count on the revenues from locally derived taxes to fund such local services. Local transportation funds would also be protected by this measure.

Supporters: Those in support of the measure include various public safety agencies and officials, local government agencies, labor unions, cities, council members, housing and taxpayer groups, and local elected officials, among others. Examples include the California Fire Chiefs Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Fire Districts Association of California, League of California Cities, County of Riverside, County of San Bernardino, County of Stanislaus, San Diego County Taxpayers Association, California Redevelopment Association, and the California Special Districts Association. For a full list of supporters, view here.

Jim Earp, executive director of the California Alliance and campaign co-chair stated, “California voters have repeatedly supported statewide measures that dedicate the gas taxes we pay at the pump for transportation improvements. Despite this, year after year the Legislature exploits every loophole it can find to borrow or outright raid these critical funds. This measure will once and for all protect gas taxes from future raids and insure they are used to improve our roads, highways and transit systems - just like the voters intended.”

You can read the full text of the submitted measure here.

The web site for the Save Local Services campaign is here.

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