Thanks Mark Sorensen for speaking to Chico Taxpayers Association

4 Jun

Yesterday Mark Sorensen was good enough to come down to the Chico library to fill in a group of interested citizens on some of the facts regarding the November phone tax increase measure. But, we probably won’t get alot out of the council or the city attorney’s office until August 7, when they are due to turn their “impartial analysis” and ballot arguments in to the city clerk’s office. 

Until then, we are left with a lot of speculation. But the important fact remains – this measure will raise the taxes of every city resident who owns “mobile messaging devices” – specifically , for now, cell phones. 

Councilor Sorensen explained to us that the city is very desperate to pass this measure because they have already been receiving this tax and are heavily dependent on the revenue – some $900,000 a year, in fact. Some cell phone providers, AT&T the most prominent, have already been collecting the tax for an undisclosed number of years, without any legal grounds to back them up aside from the fact that they make up your bill and you don’t ask any questions. The city has been receiving this ill-gotten gain, knowingly,  for years, in violation of our own code, which only allows for the taxing of land lines.  

I can hear the question forming in your mind Joseph – how the HELL do they get away with this shit!?!  It’s the psychic connection -oh oh – think they’ll find a way tax that? 

Well, we’re not the only ones. This is happening in cities around California. Because of a man named Donald Sipple, it’s been brought to the attention of the courts, if not the media. Mr. Sipple has sued AT&T, and won, and in turn, AT&T has had to sue the cities over which Mr. Sipple sued them. The case is still a big mess in the courts, because, despite two rulings to the effect that the money was taken from those city residents illegally, those cities will simply not return the money. 

Anyhoo, this is why the city is so desperate and so dishonest in handling this phone tax increase – they actually do stand to lose $900,000, in General Fund money, no less – the unrestricted kind! And yeah, if this measure doesn’t pass, they are left red-handed.

My-oh-my, how embarrassing for Ann Schwab and Dave Burkland. They know this, but they have made no attempt to tell the voters. Instead they try to tell us they are lowering our taxes and making everything fair for everyone. 

Tsk tsk! If they told the truth on this ballot measure, it would never get off the launch pad.  How can a  tax that is collected off of one very specific portion of the population – those folks whose cell phones are billed to a city address – but goes to pay for infrastructure and services that are enjoyed by everybody who uses our town – whether college students with a phone billed to their parents in LA or folks who work here with phones billed to a mansion in Forest Ranch – be  “fair for everyone” ?

We’ll have to see how they explain this when they come out with their “impartial analysis” in August. Until then, we need to study this issue among ourselves and try to get ready for the debate in the fall.  If you want to keep up on the agendas be sure to subscribe to Mark’s feed:

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