Thinking beyond November 2022: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is circulating a petition to put the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act on the 2024 ballot

31 Aug

Tomorrow is the First of September, so things are starting to happen. The county clerk has posted the text for Measure H, as well as Kasey Reynold’s “Quality of Life” Measure L. Here’s the link to that page:

https://buttevotes.net/306/Local-Measures

When I read this, I saw that the text of the measure strongly resembled the Yuba County measure that was the subject of a lawsuit. They are making specific promises for spending the money, when it’s a simple measure with absolutely no restrictions on spending. Here’s that link, scroll down to page 4 of 8. Or by all means, read the sales pitch that staff calls a report. This whole document is really something they hope you will never read.

https://buttevotes.net/DocumentCenter/View/1061/Measure-H—City-of-Chico?bidId=

From the text of the actual measure: “To support vital city services, including: maintaining/fixing streets, storm drains, sidewalks, and fixing potholes; addressing homelessness; protecting 911 emergency response times; preserving the number of on-duty police officers and firefighters; maintaining/improving Bidwell Park, neighborhood parks, and funding other general services and essential activity…”

Measure H, again, is simple measure, requiring only half the participating voters plus one more voter to institute a permanent tax on 100% of the population. The money can’t be dedicated to any specific purpose, it just goes into the General Fund. The proponents and the lawyer who wrote it are making promises they can’t keep, they’re being misleading. If they are going to list some possible uses of Gen Fund money, they should have to list all uses of Gen Fund money. But please note, in the text, there is no mention of the Pension Stabilization Trust, no figures as to how much they intend to pay toward the UAL, no formula for determining how much of the General Fund will go into the pensions. They feed us wad of crap about how much trouble we’re in to scare the shit out of us, but they don’t tell us this tax will not be the solution.

I think this is an attack on voter’s rights, so I sent the text to Howard Jarvis Taxpayers to ask for their opinion. They sued Yuba County over the very similar sales tax measure K, so I knew they would help me with some good information. Of course they confirmed my suspicion that the language in Measure H is legal, “although, not appropriate…” But here’s a hopeful note – they’re passing a petition to get a measure of their own on the 2024 ballot – The Taxpayers Protection and Government Accountability Act. Read more here:

Home

This is an important point to me. I don’t believe the legislature should be able to pass taxes without voter approval. The gas tax was instituted by the legislature, and when they allowed us the privelege of voting on it the question was not whether it should exist or not, but whether they would be able to increase it. “Proposition 13 requires a 2/3 vote in the Assembly and the state Senate for any state tax increase, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the massive increase in the gas tax and vehicle registration fees, or the waste of money that was supposed to go toward fixing our roads. This initiative would require statewide voter approval of any new taxes or tax increases in addition to the 2/3 vote in the Legislature.”

And when it was put on the ballot, the language was famously deceptive – I had a tow truck driver tell me that as he towed our family vehicle into Reno, where the gas was incredibly cheaper than California. We agreed that it had been intentionally worded to make people believe that a YES vote would eliminate the entire tax and a lot of road funding. “Eliminates Recently Enacted Road Repair and Transportation Funding by Repealing Revenues Dedicated For Those Purposes.” Yeah, that’s deceptive, but they got away with it. I feel the wording in Measure H is deceptive. I can only hope the voters see through it. And I hope the TPGA can stop it in future. “This initiative will stop the abusive practice of mislabeling taxes on the ballot to fool voters into approving them. It will also stop the mislabeling of taxes as “fees” or something else in order to evade voter approval requirements.”

Finally, having read a list of local supporters of Measure H, I find this paragraph very interesting.

Proposition 13 requires a two-thirds vote for special taxes to make it harder for special interests to game the system. However, state courts have recently invented a loophole. They say special taxes proposed by a “citizens’ initiative” can pass with 50% plus one yote instead of 2/3. This loophole enables special interest groups to pretend to be average citizens circulating an initiative, when really they’re interested parties who will get all the money from the tax increase.”

No, Measure H was not put on the ballot via “citizen’s initiative”, it was put there by the council majority, sans Brown. But, like this paragraph says, the folks who are supporting this measure publicly – most are people who stand to benefit from the tax revenues. For example, Laura Cootsona and Howard Slater. Cootsona is the director of the Jesus Center, and Slater is scheduled to build the new Jesus Center. And he’s not doing it for free. Takes a lot of wax to fly that ‘stache, okay? Cootsona also gets a very livable salary out of that shelter. Look at the rest of that list, you’ll see others who have a direct interest in the passage of this measure, including developers who get it in the form of new streets in their pricey subdivisions.

I know, it’s hard to believe legislation will change anything, the greedy bastards seem to worm their way out of everything. But they push us, we push back. That’s the Dance of Life folks, and if you ain’t in it, somebody else is dancing on your dime!

I’ll look into this further and keep you posted – I’ll send for the petition and see what we got.

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