End the State Raid on Local Government and Public Safety
For many years politicians in Sacramento have seized, borrowed, or diverted billions in local taxpayer dollars typically used for local public safety and dedicated road repairs, transportation improvements and local public transit funds which Californians have voted overwhelmingly to protect. Yet, in spite of these voter-approved mandates, state politicians have discovered new and creative ways to get around them and continue the vicious cycle of seizing, borrowing, or diverting local funds.
It is not yet a year ago, that Sacramento borrowed 2 billion dollars from city, county, transit, redevelopment and special district funds. The assault continues, as politicians are threatening to take or borrow funds produced in gas taxes paid at the point of sale—which can only spell one thing: disaster for transportation improvement projects which improve the condition and safety of our roads. This year alone, the state raided 2.05 million dollars in redevelopment funds, diverted 910 million dollars away from local transit agencies, and threatened to take voter approved Prop 42 funds which dedicates revenues from the state’s share of the sales tax on gasoline to transportation projects.
We need not look further than our own city hall to see the devastating toll of Sacramento’s actions, where the imminent threat of cuts to core services is right around the corner; and on the chopping block are core services such libraries, parks, and our men and women in police and fire.
Raiding and borrowing local government funds not only hurts core services essential to the public good; it hurts business and the opportunity for economic development. With shrinking budgets and the need for revenue, it is not too long down the line where the city halls will entertain the option of increasing local fees and taxes, further harming already struggling businesses. Paired with seizing of redevelopment funds, businesses dependent on much needed business development programs and projects are left to close shop.
The solution is clear: protect the services critical to California’s future from more state raids on local government, public safety, emergency response, public transit, transportation improvements, and the projects that enable our ability to move forward with crucial economic development projects and job creation.
A measure called the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act, which targets the ballot in November, may be just what we need to finally put an end to future raids on local funds. The initiative: “Prohibits the State from taking, borrowing or redirecting local taxpayer funds dedicated to public safety, emergency response and other local government services. It would also revoke the State’s authority to borrow local government property tax funds… Protects transportation and public transit funds from state raids… Protects local taxpayers by keeping more of our local tax dollars local where there’s more accountability to voters, and by ensuring once and for all that our gas taxes go to fund road improvements… Supports Reform to state government and enhance fiscal accountability.”
In this age of credit, Sacramento goes one swipe too many with its fiscally irresponsible decisions to borrow its way out of a budget hole with no regard for the vital needs of today or future Californians who are left with the consequential result. If we don’t repay those loans, our children will—with interest. And when they write their senator or assembly-person they will just as quickly receive a letter back: “Will you be paying Credit or Debt?” It’s time to take a stand.