Voters get to make a decision in November on a ballot initiative that would limit the California Legislature from taking money from local agencies.
The Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Act is a constitutional amendment that would prevent the state from borrowing or redirecting any taxes from local agencies. The initiative would protect money marked for public safety, redevelopment projects, transit funding and transportation improvements.
As the director of the Central Valley Division for the League of California Cities, Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said they collected 155 signatures in Lodi and 4,156 in the Central Valley.
"This is a clear way to tell the people up in Sacramento to leave their hands off our local dollars," Mounce said. "We are working hard and balancing our budgets. They need to quit taking our money so we can do that."
The League of California Cities, the California Transit Association and the California Alliance for Jobs all endorsed the initiative.
Mounce said the next step is to collect money to run a statewide campaign educating voters about keeping taxpayers money local.
"To win an election of this magnitude, you need money. It's a grassroots effort," Mounce said.
The Police Officers Association of Lodi endorsed the measure because it protects General Fund money, which pays for police services, said Eric Bradley, president of the union.
"The state has been able to save their public safety, and we haven't been able to to a certain degree. We've had to take major concessions," Bradley said. The Lodi Chamber of Commerce has also endorsed the initiative and helped collect signatures, said Pat Patrick, president and CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.
He plans to get the word out on the initiative and other ballot items by writing a series of opinion columns for the News-Sentinel as well as including it in the chamber's newsletters.
Patrick said people should be involved because the state has continuously been taking money over the years that could have alleviated some of the problems Lodi is facing, like furloughs and deferred maintenance.
"The more the state takes from us, the greater decline in our quality of life in livable, lovable Lodi," Patrick said.
Anyone who wants to donate to the campaign can e-mail Mounce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her home phone at 333-2814.