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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 13

Meeting Date: February 10, 2004

Subject/Title: Support of the Local Taxpayers and Public Safety Protection Act statewide ballot initiative requiring voter approval before the State could reduce funding for local services or shift more costs to local government

Submitted by: John Stevenson, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION
Approve a Resolution supporting the Local Taxpayers and Public Safety Protection Act statewide ballot initiative requiring voter approval before the State could reduce funding for local services or shift more costs to local government

PREVIOUS ACTION
None.

BACKGROUND
For more than a decade, the California State Legislature has been taking away increasing amounts of local tax dollars that local governments – cities, counties, and special districts -- use to provide essential services like police and fire protection, emergency and public health care, roads, parks, libraries clean water. In fact, through good times and bad, the State has been taking away billions in local tax dollars each year -- forcing local governments to either raise local fees or taxes to maintain services, or cut back on critically needed services.

The system is broken. Voters must act now to protect local services by protecting local tax dollars from being taken by the State. The 2004 Local Taxpayers and Public Safety Protection Act would increase local control over our local tax dollars. This measure would let the voters have the final say on proposed actions by the State Legislature that would further reduce local government funding sources. It would protect the vital local services that California residents rely on each and every day – such as public safety and emergency care, roads, libraries, parks and transportation – by requiring voter approval before the State could reduce funding for local services or shift more costs to local governments.

FISCAL IMPACT
None.

Attachments:
Resolution
Fact Sheet
Frequently Asked Questions
Ballot Measure

RESOLUTION NO.

A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE LOCAL TAXPAYERS AND PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ACT STATEWIDE BALLOT INITIATIVE REQUIRING VOTER APPROVAL BEFORE THE STATE COULD REDUCE FUNDING FOR LOCAL SERVICES OR SHIFT MORE COSTS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT

WHEREAS, state government annually seizes over $800 million in city property tax funds (ERAF) statewide, which has cost cities over $6.9 billion in lost revenues over the past 12 years and seriously reduced resources available for local public safety and other services; and

WHEREAS, in adopting the state budget this year the Legislature and Governor appropriated local vehicle license fee backfill and redevelopment property tax funds that are needed to finance critical city services such as public safety, parks, street maintenance, housing and local economic development; and

WHEREAS, the deficit financing plan in the state budget depends on a local property and sales tax swap that leaves future city services vulnerable if the state’s economic condition fails to improve; and

WHEREAS, the adopted state budget assumes an ongoing structural budget deficit of at least $8 billion, putting city resources and services at risk in future years to additional state revenue raids; and

WHEREAS, it is abundantly clear that state leaders will continue to steal local tax funds to balance the state budget unless the voters put a stop to it by limiting the power of the Legislature and Governor to do so; and

WHEREAS, the voters of California are the best judges of whether local tax funds should be diverted, confiscated, shifted or otherwise taken to finance an ever-expanding and inefficient state government; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of Voting Delegates of the League of California Cities at its September 10, 2003 meeting voted to sponsor a statewide ballot initiative to empower the voters of this state to permanently limit the ability of state government to confiscate local tax funds to fund state government; and

WHEREAS, the League has requested that cities offer support for a November 2004 ballot initiative that will allow voters to decide whether state government may continue to appropriate local tax funds to fund state government operations and responsibilities; and

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood believes that all confiscated, shifted, diverted, or otherwise stolen local tax funds should be returned to the local governments once the current state budget shortfall is corrected.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood that the City hereby expresses its strong support for a statewide ballot initiative to allow voters to decide whether local funds may be taken, confiscated, shifted, diverted or otherwise used to fund state government operations and responsibilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council and staff are authorized to provide impartial informational materials on the initiative as may be lawfully provided by the city’s representatives. No public funds shall be used to campaign for or against the initiative.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the residents of the City are encouraged to become well informed on the initiative and its possible impacts on the critical local services on which they rely.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Manager is hereby directed to send a copy to the Executive Director of the League of California Cities.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 10th day of February 2004 by the following vote:
 

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