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CSDA, Others Announce Strong Opposition to Costly Ballot Initiative

By Marcus Detwiler posted 02-02-2022 10:44 AM


Today, the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) joined a coalition of public safety, labor, infrastructure groups, and other local government groups announcing their strong opposition to California ballot initiative 21-0042A1, deceptively titled “The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act.” CSDA joined the League of California Cities, California Professional Firefighters, SEIU California, California Alliance for Jobs, and AFSCME California in opposing this costly initiative that would allow large corporations to avoid paying their fair share and evade enforcement when violating environmental, public health, and safety law.

“This measure exposes taxpayers to a new wave of costly litigation, limits the discretion of locally elected officials to respond to the needs of their communities, and injects uncertainty into financing critical infrastructure,” said Neil McCormick, CEO, California Special Districts Association. “We are in strong opposition to this dangerous measure that jeopardizes the health and safety of communities and prevents critical investments in climate adaptation and community resilience to address drought, flooding, and wildfire as well as reduce emissions and harmful pollutants.”

A broad and growing coalition of local governments, labor and public safety leaders, infrastructure advocates, and businesses opposes this measure. The measure: 

Gives Wealthy Corporations a Major Loophole to Avoid Paying their Fair Share - Forcing Local Residents and Taxpayers to Pay More 

  • The measure creates new constitutional loopholes that allow corporations to pay far less than their fair share for the impacts they have on our communities, including local infrastructure, our environment, water quality, air quality, and natural resources – shifting the burden and making individual taxpayers pay more. 


Allows Corporations to Dodge Enforcement When They Violate Environmental, Health, Public Safety and Other Laws 

  • It creates new loopholes that makes it much more difficult for state and local regulators to issue fines and levies on corporations that violate laws intended to protect our environment, public health and safety, and our neighborhoods. 


Jeopardizes Vital Local and State Services 

  • This far-reaching measure puts at risk billions of dollars currently dedicated to critical state and local services. 
  • It could force cuts to public schools, fire and emergency response, law enforcement, public health, parks, libraries, affordable housing, services to support homeless residents, mental health services and more. 
  • It would also reduce funding for critical infrastructure like streets and roads, public transportation, drinking water, new schools, sanitation, utilities and more. 


Opens the Door for Frivolous Lawsuits, Bureaucracy and Red Tape that Will Cost Taxpayers and Hurt Our Communities 

  • The measure will encourage frivolous lawsuits, bureaucracy and red tape that will cost local taxpayers millions — while significantly delaying and stopping investments in infrastructure and vital services. 


Undermines Voter Rights, Transparency, and Accountability 

  • It would limit voter input by prohibiting local advisory measures, where voters provide direction to politicians on how they want their local tax dollars spent 
  • It would change our constitution to make it more difficult for local and state voters to pass measures needed to fund local services and local infrastructure. 
  • It also includes a hidden provision that would retroactively cancel measures that were passed by local voters — effectively undermining the rights of voters to decide for themselves what their communities need. 


Click here to view a copy of the press release issued earlier today announcing the coalition’s opposition to this initiative. CSDA will continue to advocate on behalf of its members on this and other issues, and will keep members appraised of its efforts through Advocacy News posts, eNews stories, social media posts, and more.