In 2004, California voters approved Proposition 1A. It limited the state's ability to appropriate local funds - but it didn't eliminate it. Last year, the state took money from cities, counties and redevelopment agencies to balance the budget. So this year, the League of California Cities is sponsoring Proposition 22. Executive Director Chris McKenzie:
McKenzie: "The voters have said, they want to see gas taxes used to maintain streets and roads and used for public transit. This measure makes sure that's the case. They've said they want to see property taxes used to pay for local public safety and 911 services. This measure makes sure that that happens."
Opponents call Prop 22 ballot-box budgeting at its worst. Carroll Wills with California Professional Firefighters says the state's options are already too restricted. And he calls the measure a giveaway to redevelopment agencies.
Wills: "The question is really, do you want to set aside money for developers? Or do you want to make sure that there is at least enough flexibility so that vital services like schools, indigent care, public safety are able to access those funds?"
Prospective winners and losers from Prop 22 are reflected in each campaign's endorsements. Organizations that rely on local funds support it; those that rely on state funds oppose it. Labor unions are split; so are taxpayer groups. And one group is conspicuously absent from both lists: the California State Association of Counties.
Treadwell: "It's a half-empty, half-full proposition."
CSAC's Erin Treadwell says Prop 22 could both give counties money - and take it away.
Treadwell: "It locks away funding for transportation and public safety services. Other services - such as public health, Child Protective Services - become much more vulnerable."
The state's non-partisan legislative analyst says Prop 22 could affect several billion dollars each year.