The Metropolitan Forum Project Reviving Citizen Civic Engagement
Inland Empire Area Subregional Groups' Findings


December 11, 1997

  1. Services are related to where we live; Local Revenues are related to where we shop.
  2. Public transit distribution is based upon population.
  3. Pre-Proposition 13, residents were allowed to tax themselves (through representative local government) to become bedroom communities.
  4. Government closest to "the people" seems to have the least control.
  5. "Suburban flight" creates significant costs to urban centers.
  6. "Suburban flight" also creates huge up front infrastructure costs and ongoing transportation challenges and costs.


  1. Should certain jurisdictions even exist?
  2. What can be divested from the general fund and paid for from franchise and user fees?
  3. What can be privatized?
  4. How do you enable residents to decide and fund the community they want?
  5. Should the initiative process be reformed?
  6. Do voters understand the consequences of certain initiatives?
  7. Is it desirable to return to pre-proposition 13 revenue structure?
  8. What is the role of property tax?
  9. Is it possible for local governments to form a united front?
  10. What other states have good models of local government finance? (Missouri?)
  11. Is equitable financing among similar institutions desirable or should equity be base upon the type of community residents want?
  12. Is there a constitutional basis for equitable fire, police, transit, etc.?
  13. Is it possible to educate the public about the intricacies of government?
  14. Do the dynamics of government change too quickly to educate the public about government?
  15. How do you tie in public education to the things people care about?
  16. Does the public care as much about local services, (and how they are delivered) as they do about national issues?
  17. How do you build a constituency for "good government?"
  18. Can (should) the business community get involved in the issue of local government finance? Why?
  19. Is there regional leadership at the corporate and political level?
  20. Why should Sacramento care?
  21. Does the public care about cities?
  22. Is the present level of service too high in cities?
  23. Has local government been too creative in meeting their budget shortfalls?


  1. Mandates upon local governments must be addressed.
  2. Don't create situations where cities compete with cities, counties v. counties etc. for both revenue and policy decisions at the state level.
  3. Local money should stay local.
  4. Identify the responsibilities of government at all levels.
  5. Identify the revenues of government.
  6. Identify those services that are general fund services, and those which should be paid for by user fees.
  7. Stop the migration of local revenues.
  8. If initiatives continue to be the manner in which public policy is set, then local government should become proactive in this arena to promote local revenues and service enhancements.
  9. Create a local link between sales taxes and services.
  10. Create a two column ledger on recommendations: a) what would be the best strategy to pursue given the current structure of local government finance; b) what would create a "perfect world?"
  11. The system of local government finance must be accountable to preserve public trust.
  12. Equitable revenue sources are needed.
  13. The system of local government finance should not distort behavior.
  14. Revenue sources should be elastic.
  15. Create an incentive to develop infrastructure, (e.g. 50/50 match, infrastructure bank, etc.)
  16. Privatize services where possible.
  17. Local governments should use two tracks in budgeting.
  18. Reform worker's compensation and disability retirement.
  19. Prioritize local services.
  20. Judge who is best able to provide local services.
  21. Match up revenue based upon points 19 and 20 (above).
  22. From the perspective of public education, define what government is from a practical standpoint.
  23. In order to promote better decision making by the electorate, efforts must be made to educate the public about how government presently operates.
  24. Develop a realistic time frame for reform: a) Phase in reform: give jurisdictions a choice to reform now or later; b) Deal in some other way with the situation of winners and losers of any reform.
  25. Promote a statewide initiative to delete the sunset provision of local "self-help" initiatives.
  26. Create service benchmarks.

Metropolitan Forum Project
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