If California voters approve a controversial measure on Tuesday to clamp a lid on local property taxes, their action will have a ripple effect across the country, the National League of Cities predicted yesterday.
Alan Beals, executive director of the league, siad that if the measure succeeds, "it will severely curtail the ability of municipalities to raise money and will increase their dependency on state and federal government."
Beals said the impact on the nation would be "very severe" because other states would find similar measures "hard to resist." He cited Michigan, Colorado and Idaho as states where legislatures are considering property tax limits.
The league, which consists of 775 cities and 48 state affiliates, convened a breakfast meeting with reporters to discuss the issue, Proposition 13 on the state ballot, which leading polls in California indicate will pass.
John E. Petersen, an official of the Municipal Finance Officers Association, noting that states are often called the laboratories of government, called Proposition 13 "a kind of Frankestein, a green hulk emerging from the west."
Beals cited California's budget, surplus, estimated at $2 billion to $3 billion, and said that "local governments are victims of states' irresponsibility in running up big surpluses."
Instead, he suggested, states ought to share their surpluses with localities.
A recent study by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations here showed that states are expected to contribute 35.4 percent of the funds that 47 large cities raise themselves this year; in fiscal 1976 they contributed 29.8 percent.