Offer a skating rink, get a tax increase

Letter: Offer a skating rink, get a tax increase

Chico Enterprise-Record
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

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