Stop CARD’s new tax – Measure A! Click the link HERE to get the No On Measure A Flyer and distribute it to everyone you know! This flyer contains important information you NEED TO KNOW about this bad new tax.
And remember, this new tax does nothing to reform CARD’s unfunded liability problem so even if this measure passes CARD will be back for more tax increases and fee increases, especially with the large amount of new debt CARD will be taking on.
Both the City of Chico and CARD are pushing tax increases for 2020. Here you will find the truth about these tax increases that the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats don’t want you to know and that the media so often ignores.
Stop CARD’s new tax! Click the link HERE to get the No On Measure A Flyer!
And that includes Chico’s new taxes for 2020…and beyond.
Californians face a wave of local tax hike measures
The economy has been booming over the last decade, which has provided local governments with a windfall in sales and property taxes. Despite the economic fat times, California cities have been complaining about their dire economic straits, with some of them even fearing insolvency unless something is done to change the financial trajectory.
What explains this dichotomy? The answer is simple. The costs of public employee compensation, especially pension and retiree-medical benefits, continue to climb exponentially and are consuming ever-larger portions of local general-fund budgets. One need only look at the Transparent California website to get a sense of the eye-popping levels of pay and benefits.
Instead of addressing this well-documented problem, state and local leaders have relied on a tried-and-true method: asking local taxpayers to increase taxes on themselves. California voters will see the latest evidence of this at the ballot box during the March 3 primary. The California Taxpayers Association (CalTax) recently published a list of more than 230 tax increases that will be on local ballots.
Local governments and school districts always tout these measures as necessary expenditures to rebuild crumbling schools, maintain overused parks and provide better police services, but don’t be fooled. Every new local tax these days is, essentially, a pension tax. These governments write the ballot summaries and provide “voter information,” so they are able to sway the discussion away from the true causes of their fiscal peril.
Read the rest here https://www.ocregister.com/2020/02/04/californians-face-a-wave-of-local-tax-hike-measures
Taxpayers shouldn’t bear burden of pension deficit | Letter
March 22, 2019
At the Feb. 27 Finance Committee meeting, City Manager Mark Orme said he has resisted revenue measures in the past, but that Chico’s current situation calls for a new tax to mitigate the impacts of the Camp Fire evacuation.
City staff has been calling for a tax increase since well before the Camp Fire. They wanted to tax our cell phones. Then they said garbage trucks were wrecking our streets and added a franchise fee to our rates. Long deferred street and park maintenance. Transients straining public safety agencies. Now it’s the evacuees.
But on Feb. 27, Orme finally acknowledged the “elephant in the room” — pensions. The city spends almost $20 million annually on pensions. About $8 million of that goes to the pension deficit.
Orme insisted staff has learned to “live within our means.” Really? The city manager’s base salary has gone from $192,000 to $207,500 since his hire, but his total pay is over $225,000, including perks such as a $400 per month car allowance. Tack on another $82,000 in pension and health benefits, including $18,000 for an IRC 457 (deferred compensation plan) added to his contract just last year.
Orme only pays 11 percent of his base salary for a pension of 70 percent of his highest year’s salary at age 60. This is how the deficit was created, the employees expect a lot but only want to contribute a fraction of the cost.
The question isn’t whether we need a new tax, but why the taxpayers should bear the burden of a pension deficit created by public employees.
— Juanita Sumner, Chico
Letters: Do they take us for fools?
August 27, 2019
Hats off to Juanita Sumner for shedding light on CARD’s tax increase measure. CARD has been considering a tax increase for years and has spent over $100,000 of our tax dollars on high priced consulting firms in an effort to get a tax increase measure on the ballot. One consulting firm they paid openly brags about its ability to help get tax increases passed. Yet CARD’s attorney claims these consulting firms are merely involved in informational surveys. Only a fool would believe that.
The fact is that CARD, like the rest of local government, has made unsustainable compensation promises to its employees, especially regarding pensions. These promises are devouring money that should be going for infrastructure. Like CARD, the City Council has used our tax dollars to hire a high priced consulting firm for a proposed tax increase. The push for tax increases from our local government is all about unfunded liabilities that are unsustainable.
Without true reform we will face endless rounds of tax increases in a futile effort to fund unsustainable liabilities. Scores of cities and counties raised taxes in the last several years and not one has solved their unfunded liabilities problem. All passage of the latest round of proposed tax increases will do is kick the can down the road a couple of election cycles, but our local politicians and bureaucrats will never admit this.
Will the people be fooled? We will find out next March when CARD’s tax increase will be on the ballot.
— Dave Howell, Chico
Letter: Why are we paying people to raise our taxes?
February 28, 2019
Last month the Fair Political Practices Commission revealed 34 allegations made since 2015 concerning public agencies misusing taxpayer funds for campaign purposes. Unfortunately, the agency lacks the authority to prosecute misuse of public funds, a power reserved for city and county prosecutors and the state attorney general.
Apparently, no local law enforcement agency has followed through on any of the allegations, prompting the FPPC to ask the state for the power to prosecute in these matters.
Does anyone really believe that a local district attorney or city attorney would prosecute a public agency for raising taxes? FPPC commissioner Brian Hatch calls that “political suicide.”
Both the city of Chico and Chico Area Recreation District continue to spend taxpayer money on consultants who promise to help them pass their separate tax measures. Their consultant, EMC Research, claims “Great campaigns don’t just happen. That’s why we offer a full suite of political research and predictive analytics to help your candidates, organizations, and ballot measures succeed.”
Is this why you pay taxes? To hire people to raise your taxes?
Contact FPPC Chair Alice Germond and tell her you support her efforts to impose stiffer penalties on those public agencies who flaunt the law and continue to undermine voters’ rights across the state. You might also want to contact Chico city council at firstname.lastname@example.org and the CARD board at email@example.com and let them know how you feel about paying for their campaigns to raise your taxes.
— Juanita Sumner, Chico
Letter: Offer a skating rink, get a tax increase
October 15, 2019
At a morning meeting downtown, Public Works staffer Brendan Ottoboni stated there is no more money to maintain or fix city streets. He said streets that had been on the repairs list for years were being taken off due to lack of funds.
So why would Ottoboni propose an ice skating rink on “Chico Engaged!”?
Look at the agenda for Council’s 10/15 meeting — (the) council will discuss giving management employees a raise while putting a one cent sales tax measure on the Nov. 2020 ballot. When a city doesn’t even have the money to perform the most basic services, why even consider giving raises to people already making four times the median income?
Chico has over $138 million in pension liability. Staff recently established the completely restricted “Pension Stabilization Trust” and this year have transferred over $1.2 million from other funds into the PST. Employees pay 15% or less of “their share,” paying nothing toward the PST. The sales tax increase, a simple majority measure requiring only 51% voter approval, will go into the general fund, available for salaries, benefits, and the PST.
Tax measures are being proposed all over California to fund pension packages that were never approved by voters, made by elected officials who receive donations and other political support from employee unions. The taxpayers even pay for the consultants who guarantee to get the measure passed.
Coincidentally, a tax measure consultant told City of Chico Finance Committee, “We offered them (Heavenly Valley) a skating rink …” and the measure passed.
— Juanita Sumner, Chico
Letter: Don’t fall for the city council’s tax increase lie
April 29, 2019
In FY 2017-18 city revenues grew 7.4%. Director Dowell told the city council revenue growth is expected to continue. Yet Director Orme said the city has a revenue problem that requires tax increases. Despite increased revenue the city’s infrastructure continues to crumble.
Mayor Stone tells us city employee compensation costs will double in less than 10 years and CalPERs will devour 25% of the city’s budget by 2023. (And that assumes an unrealistically high CalPERS 7% return rate.) Stone admits this is unsustainable.
The obvious answer: pension reform.
Instead the city council is giving tens of thousands of your tax dollars to a PR firm to sell you a tax increase. Their pitch will be that the money is necessary to fund infrastructure and public safety. That’s a lie. It’s necessary because for years the city has put unrealistic pension promises ahead of everything else and the city council has no intention of changing that.
Other cities in California have taken the same approach. Instead of fixing the problem the result has been demands for even higher taxes.
Initial estimates indicate the city council’s tax increase would cost a family of four an extra $1200 a year. This in a county with a 21% poverty rate where city bureaucrats have pensions worth millions. It’s unconscionable.
This is how democracy fails. The people need to let the city’s politicians know loudly and clearly this will not be tolerated. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to voice your disapproval to the entire council.
— Dave Howell, Chico