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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: CITY MANAGER
DATE: OCTOBER 7, 2003
SUBJECT: LEAGUE PROPOSAL FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT INITIATIVE TO PROTECT LOCAL FUNDS
Consider support of a League of California Cities sponsored ballot initiative to empower the voters to limit the ability of state government to confiscate local tax funds to fund state government.
On Wednesday, September 10, 2003 City delegates attending the League’s Annual Conference in Sacramento cast a unanimous vote in support of the League’s sponsorship of a statewide initiative that will give voters a chance to stop the state raids on local funds. Planned for the November 2004 ballot, the League’s measure will amend the constitution to require voter approval before the state can divert, confiscate, shift or otherwise take local funds to finance state purposes.
The League is asking for support of their member cities through the adoption of resolutions similar to the one adopted by the League General Assembly. A copy of that resolution is attached. In addition, the League calls on all City officials to unite and lend their personal time and financial support to this campaign. City officials are asked to:
The cost of financing a successful ballot initiative is estimated to cost $8 million according to League officials.
A sample Resolution is attached. However the City Council may prefer to show support through a motion and a letter from the Mayor to the League in lieu of a Resolution.
Attachments: League Resolution
Overview of Proposed Initiative
SAMPLE CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION
A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING A STATEWIDE BALLOT INITIATIVE TO REQUIRE VOTER APPROVAL BEFORE STATE GOVERNMENT MAY TAKE LOCAL TAX FUNDS
WHEREAS, state government annually seizes over $800 million in city property tax funds (ERAF) statewide, costing cities over $6.9 billion in lost revenues over the past 12 years and seriously reducing 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 economic development; and
WHEREAS, the deficit financing plan in the state budget depends on a local property and sales tax swap that leaves 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 use local tax funds to balance the state budget unless the voters limit 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 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 to 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 appropriate local tax funds to fund state government operations and responsibilities.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ______________________ that the City hereby expresses its strong support for a statewide ballot initiative to allow voters to decide whether local tax funds may be taken, confiscated, shifted, diverted or otherwise used to fund state government operations and responsibilities; and
RESOLVED FURTHER, 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; and
RESOLVED FURTHER, 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; and
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the city manager (or clerk) is hereby directed to send a copy to the Executive Director of the League of California Cities.
ADOPTED this ______________ day of _______________________, 200___.