Educators, nurses, firefighters, local government, and infrastructure groups vow to protect voters and vital local services from deceptive corporate ballot measure

Feb 2, 2023

California Business Roundtable initiative steals voters’ power to determine local priorities, lets corporations evade accountability

Latest poll showed overwhelming opposition from voters

Contact: Mike Roth
(916) 444-7170


Sacramento – The Alliance for a Better California, League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, California Special Districts Association, California Alliance for Jobs, and the Contract Cities Association joined together to announce strong opposition to the deceptive ballot measure sponsored by the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the lobbying arm of the largest and wealthiest corporations in California.

The coalition of public safety, education, labor, local government, and infrastructure groups are vocalizing their opposition as the California Secretary of State’s office announced that the initiative has qualified for the November 2024 ballot.

“Educators, nurses and firefighters won’t allow extreme, irresponsible corporations to threaten our democracy — there’s just too much at stake, from the quality of our children’s education to the air they breathe,” said the Alliance for a Better California, an organization that includes SEIU California, the California Teachers’ Association, California Professional Firefighters, California Federation of Teachers, California School Employees Association, California Faculty Association, California Labor Federation and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

“This deceptive initiative eliminates corporate accountability for the damage they do to our environment, strips voters of the power to set funding priorities for our communities, and drains billions in funding from our schools, public safety, and homelessness response to name just a few. We are going to fight with everything we’ve got to protect our democracy and our children’s future,” the Alliance continued.

"This is the third attempt by deep-pocketed special interest groups to advance an initiative that undermines the rights of local voters to decide what their communities need and jeopardizes the ability of local governments to deliver essential services,” said League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman. “It was a bad idea in 2018, it was a bad idea again in 2022. And it will still be a bad idea in 2024.”

“Counties continue to oppose this deceptive initiative because it undermines the abilities of voters and locally elected officials to provide critical services. This measure obliterates the constitutional authority of locally elected local governments to determine the right balance between revenue and the degree of local services needed by their communities,” said Graham Knaus, CEO, California State Association of Counties.

“At this critical time in California’s history, our communities cannot afford to do even less than the status quo. Sadly, this initiative would lock us into a race-to-the-bottom. Overcoming challenges like drought, flooding, and wildfire will require all of us to work together and consider the real costs of undermining our future. When we think of the kind of communities we want to leave our children and grandchildren, we are not content to settle for the ‘minimum amount necessary’ and we are not willing to limit their voice at the ballot box,” said Neil McCormick, Chief Executive Officer, California Special Districts Association.

"The so-called Taxpayer Protection Act will damage our ability to fund and construct the infrastructure projects that support California's economy. Passage of this measure will mean less safe roads, more congestion and fewer family supporting jobs across the state,” said Michael Quigley, Executive Director, California Alliance for Jobs.

“If passed, this measure could cause irreparable harm to a city’s ability to provide essential services to its residents. This measure is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Marcel Rodarte, Executive Director, California Contract Cities Association.

The CBRT measure would create major new loopholes that allow wealthy corporations to avoid paying their fair share for the impacts they have on our communities, while allowing corporations to evade enforcement when they violate environmental, health, safety, and other state and local laws. It would also significantly restrict the ability of local voters, local governments, and state elected officials to fund critical services like public schools, fire and emergency response, public health, parks, libraries, affordable housing, homeless and mental health services, and public infrastructure. Some of the state’s biggest corporations, developers, mega-landlords, and their political committees spent millions of dollars to put the deceptive and self-interested measure before voters.

Steals power from voters 

The initiative would steal power away from voters, prohibiting local advisory measures where voters provide direction to politicians on how they want their local tax dollars spent. The measure would make it harder for voters to pass measures needed to fund local services and local infrastructure. It would also retroactively cancel measures already passed by voters, stripping voters of a say in local decisions. 

As Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik explained, “The so-called Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act is just one more example of how special interests love to claim that they’re getting government off the backs of the people, when their real goal is to saddle up themselves.”

Eliminates corporate accountability

The initiative claims to be about accountability while actually eliminating corporations’ accountability for impacts they have on local infrastructure or damage they do to our air, water, or environment. 

Threatens schools, vital services and disaster response

The initiative would 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, and utilities. During a time when our children are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, our state is experiencing a deluge of extreme weather disasters, and homeless residents are perishing on our streets, our communities cannot afford for these vital services to be eliminated.

Strong Voter Opposition

A statewide poll conducted last February found voters resoundingly rejected the measure, with 54% of voters opposed and only 25% in support. The remaining 21% were undecided.