Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Press Release from Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability – April 1, 2024

Voters are promised their taxes will fund critically important services, only to see the ugly truth later

SACRAMENTO, CA- This April Fool’s Day, Californians are in for an unpleasant reminder of the deceptive bait-and-switch tactics used to pass tax increases to fund critically important public services, only to see them diverted later to other questionable uses. The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA), slated for the November 2024 ballot, will help put a stop to this deceptive practice by improving accountability and ensuring voters get what they have been promised.

“For too long, taxpayers have endured misleading claims about how our hard-earned dollars will be spent,” said Elizabeth Brierly, past president of Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association. “California politicians are notorious for promising that given even more tax dollars, government agencies will sustain core public services such as road repairs or crime-fighting, then allowing those tax revenues to be frittered away on ‘foolish’ uses. The Taxpayer Protection Act will safeguard unwittingly generous voters and overburdened taxpayers against further such exploitation.”

A few recent examples include:

Gas Tax Increase: Touted as a solution to the state’s crumbling roads, seven years later, California’s controversial gas tax increase has shown that promise was not kept by state legislators.

  • Despite paying the nation’s highest gas tax, one-third of the revenue is diverted to purposes outside road repairs and state highways, leaving California with some of the worst roads in the country.
  • Under the Taxpayer Protection Act, the controversial gas tax hike would have required voter approval. Additionally, under TPA, if legislators want to divert funds away from roads, it would require another public vote.
  • TPA also requires all future tax increases to clearly state their tax rate, how the funds will be used and duration the tax will be in effect, preventing deceptive titles and summaries to ensure voters have transparency and accountability when deciding how to vote.

Measure B, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority: In 2016, Santa Clara County voters approved a sales tax increase proposed by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to “relieve traffic” and “repair potholes.”

  • Yet, plans were later unveiled by VTA to divert most of the tax funds toward a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) project when voters had been told it was limited to 25 percent at most, leading to scathing criticisms that “this Measure B bait and switch is deplorable.”
  • The Taxpayer Protection Act mandates clear future ballot descriptions of how tax revenue will be utilized, giving taxpayers more tools to ensure local governments uphold their commitments to taxpayers.

Measure U, City of Sacramento: In 2018, Sacramento voters approved a sales tax increase. Voters were told the tax increase would “protect and enhance essential public safety services” with the mayor promising that the new revenue would not go to public employee pensions—when in fact it could be used for unrestricted general government purposes.

  • Just a year later, observers of the city budget noted that “simple, inescapable arithmetic” meant the additional money generated from the sales tax increase would need to go to the city’s spiraling pension payments.
  • TPA requires future local tax ballot statements to plainly state when taxes are for general government use, ensuring voters clearly know they can be used for pensions and other purposes.

“If the Taxpayer Protection Act passes this November, expect fewer April Fool’s Day surprises as this popular ballot measure is a crucial step toward ending the bait-and-switch tactics that have plagued taxpayers for too long,” added Bruce Lee, president of the Sacramento Taxpayers Association.

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About Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability
Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability is a bipartisan coalition of homeowners, taxpayers, and businesses committed to ensuring California remains affordable for families and accountable to its voters. For more information, visit www.taxpayerprotection.com.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Bait-and-Switch Tricks Aren’t Just for April Fool’s Day”
  1. Sounds familiar, like Measures S and R, Measure C for the harbor, the school district facility bonds, the sales tax for the fair grounds, and the property assessment for the Crescent Fire Protection District (CFPD) all assuring better service and what have we gotten, a whole lot of nothing. In fact the services have gotten measurably worse not better. We still have the City, the County, the Harbor, the school district, and the CFPD telling us it is not enough. Higher waste disposal fees, increases for water and sewer, the continuing disaster at the harbor, a school district that doesn’t perform, a City focused on the “black hole” on Front Street and a community city pool that runs an annual deficit of nearly half a million dollars, a County that can spend money for the lame “sister city” extravaganza but can’t field a sheriff’s office with more than one patrol deputy per shift, and the list goes on. At what point will voters realize that the people in charge are selling us down the river with their lust for ever more tax money to spend on “pet projects” that do not serve in the best interests of the community. I hope this helps. Tired of paying for fairy tales and lollypops.

    1. Watched Measure S Oversight Committee last night on YouTube. What struck me was the budget for 3 Fire Captains. Knew voters approved Property Tax increase for CCFD which I didn’t but increased mine by $42. If they keep increasing my Property Tax my wife won’t be able to keep our home iwhen I die. Back to the presentation, it showed the 3 Fire Captains budget for 2023-20245 was $377,063; for 2024-2025 $417,487, and 2025-2026 was 442,500. And for 2022-2023 their uniforms was $3383, are the going to show up drssed like General Patton? I’m not going to divide the above figures by 3 which you can. Puzzled, does this money come from Measure S tax and Property Tax? What does it have to do with Messure S. Anyway you look at it why all of a sudden do we need 3 Fire Captains Full Time. Man, if you can get a gig working for this local government you have it made. Does this budget show for Retirement and perks?

      1. The money for the three fire captains is split between Measure “S” money and a CFPD parcel tax assessment. At the same time, the Fire Chief’s salary and benefits totaling near a quarter million annually is split in the same fashion. What is even more revealing is of the 2000 plus calls that CFPD is talking about, less than 11% are actual fire calls. A vast number of the remaining calls are health related or calls that do not require the fire department’s attendance. Hence, the need for three fire captains and a quarter million dollar fire chief in that light seems a bit excessive. If you talk to members of the local volunteer fire department they will go to their graves lecturing on how vital both sources of funding are critical. When both Measure “S”, and the parcel tax we proposed, we were assured wages and benefits were NOT part the intended expenditures for any of the “vital” services to be addressed, then along came the ballot measures which when passed allowed the tax money to be spent on just about anything. Most of the money since has gone almost exclusively for salaries and benefits, many of them not even remotely related to “vital services”. Same with the Measure “R” money where NONE of the tax revenue goes to ANY of the County’s volunteer fire departments rather to fund employees in planning, animal control, well you get the idea… Both Measures “S” and “R” and the fire parcel tax are a rip off and fire protection is no better than it was before. In the mean time the County’s residents have to dig even deeper in their pockets only to see “vital services” remain the same or get progressively worse.

        1. OMG, we have a Fire Chief too. Guess I’m one of the ones guilty of not knowing what the hell is going on around here. Used to go to meetings but didn’t know what they were talking about.

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