Sun. May 19th, 2024
By Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability – March 8, 2024

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Last week, the Orange County Register and affiliated Southern California News Group media outlets published an opinion article highlighting just how out-of-touch the League of California Cities (The League) is with the issues most important to California voters.

Authored by Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and co-chair of Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability, the article dives into the hypocrisy of The League’s consistent advocacy against taxpayers and Proposition 13 – all while using taxpayer dollars.

It also points out that The League is claiming dire consequences for the services that cities provide because TPA changes the vote threshold for citizen-backed initiative special taxes from a majority to the original 2/3 vote passed by the voters in Prop 218 in 1996. Since 1996, cities and counties have complied with this 2/3 vote threshold and never once raised the issue that it is destroying local governments’ ability to provide services. In fact, the League of Cities previously filed court documents in 2017 that supported the 2/3 majority vote requirement for local special taxes.

Special interests such as The League, with a long-standing commitment to the political agenda of the thirteen largest cities in California, show the dire need for California voters and taxpayers to be empowered with the right to vote on all new and higher taxes as a long-term check and balance to help reign in the state’s skyrocketing cost of living.

Read excerpts from the article below:

“The League of California Cities has always been biased against the interests of taxpayers. This became especially clear during the historic Proposition 13 campaign in 1978 when the League, along with the rest of the spending lobby, predicted the end of Western Civilization if Prop. 13 passed.

 “The most recent target of the League’s hysterical outrage is the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA), a proposed constitutional amendment which has already qualified for the November 2024 ballot. It is sponsored by taxpayer and business organizations to restore key provisions of Proposition 13 and other pro-taxpayer laws that give voters more control over when and how new tax revenue is raised.

 “For example, the League’s chief complaint about TPA isn’t about TPA at all, but rather a long-standing provision of Proposition 13 requiring a two-thirds vote for local special taxes (taxes for a specific purpose). This 44-year-old requirement was weakened in 2017 by ambiguity in the California Supreme Court’s infamous Upland decision. Lower courts have interpreted the decision to allow special taxes to pass with only 50% plus one vote if the tax was put on the ballot by a “citizens’ initiative.” This has enabled special interests to draft their own tax increases, direct the money to themselves, and get these self-serving measures passed with only a simple majority vote. TPA simply restores the two-thirds vote requirement and closes this costly loophole.

“But this two-thirds vote restoration has the League’s knickers in a knot as it now claims that it would make it nearly impossible to impose higher special taxes at the local level. Oddly, in the Upland case itself, the League originally admitted that the two-thirds vote requirement should remain intact: “The League finds itself ironically aligned in this case with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association . . . in arguing that a proper interpretation of the Constitution does not countenance different treatment for local tax measures, regardless of their origin.”

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