San Diego joins Cal Cities in opposing ballot measure

Nov 8, 2023

The city of San Diego on Monday passed a unanimous resolution opposing the so-called “Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act." Several organizations joined the city in announcing the resolution, including the League of California Cities.

“This dangerous measure — that deceptively seeks to ‘protect’ taxpayers — would do the opposite by leading to service reductions for streets and roads, water, public safety, homeless shelters, and other critical services,” said Carolyn Coleman, executive director and CEO of Cal Cities. “Meanwhile, wealthy corporations who are funding this measure will benefit from loopholes in the measure that enable them to sidestep paying their share.”

The November 2024 ballot initiative is sponsored by the California Business Roundtable, a group of the state’s wealthiest corporations. In a presentation to the city council, a city analyst noted that the measure would limit the ability of local voters and their elected representatives to pass new revenue measures to provide vital services.

Cal Cities estimates the measure could reduce state and local government funding for core public services by billions annually and that the measure’s unclear language could result in lawsuits putting an additional financial burden on cities and taxpayers.

“This ballot measure is an anti-democratic power grab by greedy corporations and puts a radical minority in charge of the democratic process,” said San Diego Council President Sean Elo-Rivera. “It also jeopardizes a range of critical city services and infrastructure that our residents have come to rely on and expect. We need more accountability for wealthy corporations, not less."

A broad group of organizations oppose the CBRT initiative, including labor unions, local government associations, lawmakers, and Gov. Gavin Newsom. In September, the Legislature and the Governor filed an emergency petition with the California Supreme Court to remove the initiative from the November 2024 ballot.

The case has received considerable scrutiny and analysts expect the court to decide quickly. The deadline to print the 2024 ballot is in June.

Legislators this year also passed ACA 13 (Ward), which would require future ballot measures that increase voter approval requirements to also pass by the same threshold. If the voters approve ACA 13, then the CBRT measure must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote. Both ballot measures will be on the November 2024 ballot, when voter turnout is traditionally higher.