Yesterday Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety (“TiPS”) filed a lawsuit (in Sacramento) which seeks an injunction against implementing any provision of Proposition 9.
Taxpayer Group Sues to Block Proposition 9
SACRAMENTO, CA—The recent enactment of Proposition 9 has prompted legal action by a taxpayer group seeking to block implementation of the $72 billion new law. Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety (TiPS) filed a lawsuit today in Sacramento County Superior Court asking for an injunction to prohibit the State of California from enforcing all provisions of the initiative until lawmakers can provide a legitimate funding source to finance the construction and operational expenses it contains.
“California is already facing a $40 billion shortfall over the next 24 months,” says Matt Gray, a political consultant for the group. “Budgets are being slashed for public education, social services, public health, and basically everything which invests in our state’s future well-being, while the state picks and chooses funding parts of Prop. 9.” Proposition 9 was passed by voters in the November General Election after being sold as a ‘victims rights’ initiative. But voters were kept in the dark about hidden fees which are expected to exceed $72 billion to construct and operate new prison and jail beds.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, more than 32 local jail systems are operating under population caps, and federal judges are threatening to impose an inmate population cap for state prisons due to severe overcrowding. Despite hefty public opposition, state officials want new prison cell construction and have received bids of $600,000 per inmate for a state and local system that is presently short by 90,000 beds.
Gray contends, “Prop. 9 was intentionally a Trojan Horse that preyed upon voters’ fears and sympathy for ‘crime victims’ as a decoy to sneak-in prison onstruction.”
Under a similar effort last year, lawmakers quietly passed AB 900 without public notice or opportunity for public input, which called for the sale of $7.4 billion in lease revenue bonds to build more prison and jail beds. Since then, the state has begun the process to construct new facilities but stalled because it has failed to sell the bonds.
“California needs a better master plan for public safety, and we cannot afford to keep building more prisons because the state is bankrupt,” says Gray. “We need to re-evaluate who goes to prison for what, what they do while locked up, and for how long.”