A duo of Sacramento taxpayer groups announced their campaign to prevent more than $250 million in public money from funding a new downtown arena should the Kings franchise be bought by an ownership group backed by mayor Kevin Johnson. The Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods PAC and Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) released a press release on Tuesday and said they would begin the process of collecting signatures to "bring the issue to voters" through a ballot referendum.
"Today, we announcing that we are now moving forward with our campaign which includes getting official approval to gather signatures for putting an initiative on the ballot," said Julian Camacho, Chairman of Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP). "This initiative will allow the public to weigh in on the City Council's decision to divert funding from police, fire, schools and parks to support building a new basketball arena for the owners of the Kings."
Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Lillis believes a notice of intent for the groups to begin collecting signatures will be submitted either Tuesday or Wednesday.
The group says their concerns lie in the city currently dealing with a $8.9 million deficit with more budget struggles upcoming.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger puts the more exact amount of public funding expected to go toward a new arena at $258 million. If that is not enough, then there is a proposed hotel tax.
STOP formed in 2012 when there were thoughts of moving the Kings to a new arena located in a Sacramento rail yard. They claim that they favor "financially responsible proposals for an arena to keep the Sacramento Kings in our city, and oppose massive public subsidy without voter approval."
Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods PAC is a larger group that has been operating across California since 2006.