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Calif. measure preventing raid of public transit funds to appear on ballot

Posted on June 23, 2010

A new California measure that would prevent the state from dipping into transportation funds is elegible for the November 2010 ballot, according to state officials.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced that the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act of 2010 qualified for the November 2010 ballot.

The measure, supported by a coalition of local government, transportation, business, public safety, taxpayer, labor and public transit leaders, closes loopholes to prevent the state from taking, diverting or borrowing local government, transportation and public transit funds. Supporters submitted more than 1.1 million signatures and counties verified through the random sampling verification process that the coalition had met the requirement of 694,354 valid signatures.

California voters have overwhelmingly passed measures in previous elections to restrict state raids of local government funds, as well as to dedicate gasoline taxes to transportation and public transit improvements and services.

According to Californians to Protect Local Taxpayers and Vital Services, State politicians have exploited loopholes in the law and used legally questionable tactics to borrow and raid approximately $5 billion in local government, transit and redevelopment funds in the 2009/10 budget cycle and billions more in past years. Coupled with the downturn in the economy, state raids and borrowing of local funds are contributing to severe cutbacks in local police and fire, parks, libraries, street and road repair, public transit and other local services.

If passed, the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety, and Transportation Act of 2010 would:

  • Prohibit the state from borrowing local government property tax funds which are vital for public safety and other local services.
  • Prohibit the state from taking or borrowing the Highway User Tax on gasoline, which currently funds city, county and state road, highway, transit and other transportation improvements and services.
  • Prevent the State from redirecting or diverting locally levied taxes, including: parcel taxes; sales taxes; utility user taxes; Transit Occupancy Taxes which include taxes on hotel/motel rooms and rental cars; and other locally imposed taxes that are currently passed by local governments and/or local voters and dedicated to cities, counties and special districts.
  • Prohibit the State from taking, borrowing or redirecting Public Transportation Account revenues dedicated to public transit.

Add additional constitutional protections to prevent the state from raiding redevelopment funds or shifting redevelopment funds to other state purposes.

 

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