Monday, February 3, 2014

Non-Taxpayer Can't Get Taxpayer Standing

Reynolds v. City of Calistoga, No. A136502 (D1d5 Feb. 3, 2014)

By statute, California conveys upon taxpayers general standing to sue government entities for injunctive relief resulting from illegal expenditures, injuries to public property, or waste. See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 526a. But the plaintiff still needs to have paid some taxes to the defendant government in order to invoke the rule. Plaintiff here paid no taxes to the defendant. And the court declines his invitation to extend taxpayer standing even to non-taxpayers. Nor is he entitled to the sort of public interest standing that applies in some kind of mandamus proceedings; mandamus was not at issue in this case. Nor is he entitled to standing on a public trust grounds because he did not assert that the government action about which he was complaining resulted in harm to any resources held in trust for the public. So his complaint was properly dismissed for lack of standing.


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