The new buzz phrase – “budget neutral…”

16 Oct

I am really disappointed in the Chico Enterprise Record lately. I don’t know why – it’s not like the ER has ever been a great newspaper, but at least, it has  been more of a real newspaper in the past.

I don’t know where they got the gal that wrote the story on Measure J, but she needs to take a math class.

According to Miss Ashley Gebb of the Enterprise Record, “The rate change, if applied to an average cellphone bill of $50 per month would change the tax from $2.50 a month to $2.25.”

There she says, “an average cellphone bill of $50 per month…” She’s saying the average Chico cell phone bill is only $50. When I asked her about this, she said it was “an issue of semantics.  I wrote “an average phone bill” not “the average phone bill.” No, Ashley, there’s no “semantics” involved here – according to the dictionary, “average” means “constituting the result obtained by adding together several quantities and then dividing this total by the number of quantities.”  

Furthermore, she took the exact words out of Ann Schwab’s argument in favor, changing the word “the” for “an”, like she said, as if that makes some kind of difference.

She  insinuates that everybody already pays this tax. She says some carriers haven’t collected the tax – she means, only AT&T has and that’s been illegal for 30 years! 

Sorry Ashley, you wrote a propaganda piece. You didn’t bother to contact anybody in opposition of this measure. All she had to do was google “no on measure j chico ca” and the first thing that pops up is this blog.  Our blog was on the news the other night – seems like the tv news reporter went a little farther in her efforts to get the real story. Gebb’s piece comes off in favor of Measure J. I’ve run it below, pretty sloppy, but you can read it for yourself – it’s a propaganda piece, not news. 

That’s because, Dave Little wants it to pass. He believes “most” people do not pay enough taxes. He’s just bitter because his house is upside down.

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/13-Stratford-Way-Chico-CA-95973/52456465_zpid/

The house he bought in 2007 is worth over $100,000 less than he paid for it. Of course, look at the tax history – he’s managed to get the assessor to cut his taxes by almost $1,000 over the last four years. Wow, I wish he’d shake down with that information – the “average” person would be afraid to go to the assessor – he can also assess your house for MORE! But I doubt he’d pull that kind of shit with the editor of the local “newspaper.” Gee, how nice for Dave! But still, his house is overtaxed, and he’s pissed about it. He wants a baseball stadium and all these bells and whistles for his public charter school kids, so he’s allowed Tom Lando to talk him into this Measure J bullshit – yes, you know Tom Lando is behind this, Ann Schwab is too stupid to come up with it herself. 

Little sent his brand new reporter out to do a little story about Measure J – why not a more seasoned reporter? Somebody who knows what’s going on in our local politics?  Because he doesn’t want a real story, he wants Measure J to pass. 

GEBB’S STORY FROM THE ER

Telephone users tax put before Chico voters

By ASHLEY GEBB – Staff Writer
Posted: 10/15/2012 12:35:27 AM PDT
CHICO — The jumble of taxes tacked on to phone bills may go unnoticed by
many, but one that provides revenue to the city of Chico may garner a little
more attention come Nov. 6.
Measure J is asking voters whether to amend wording to the city’s telephone
users tax to encompass modern technology, while decreasing the tax rate
from 5 percent to 4.5 percent. Revenue from the telephone users tax
supports the general fund.
Since implementation of a telephone users tax in 1970, the city’s existing
ordinance, like similar ordinances statewide, defines services subject to the
tax by referencing a federal telephone tax.
As phone technology has modernized, the outdated definition is being
challenged in many cities and some phone carriers have quit collecting the
tax.
To protect against losing revenues, many cities are updating their
telecommunications user taxes through voters. Nearly all the measures
have been approved, such as one in Oroville in 2010.
“It’s not a new tax, it’s just paying attention to the fact we have different technology than we had 30 years ago,” said
Councilman Jim Walker. “It’s not like we are trying to find a windfall for the city. The way our current tax law is written,
the city stands to lose $800,000 or $900,000 in revenue because we have antiquated verbiage.”
If Chico’s measure succeeds, the tax would apply to all users of telephone communication services, including
cellphones, voice over Internet, paging, text messaging and landline
services. The tax would not apply to Internet service,
pay phones and low-income residents.
The rate change, if applied to an average cellphone
bill of $50 per month would change the tax from
$2.50 a month to $2.25.
Council members Ann Schwab, and Andy
Holcombe and Mary Goloff also support the
measure, saying it is critical to prevent loss of tax
revenue that ultimately supports police and fire
services, road maintenance and park funds.
Rejecting it, they say, could keep Chico from
remaining solvent.
The city currently receives about $1.4 million in
telephone user tax revenue a year. It is estimated
$900,000 of that comes from wireless
telecommunications providers — revenue that could
be at risk if the ordinance is not updated.
In March 2011, Metro PCS stopped paying the tax,
causing a loss of nearly $80,000.
Measure opponents state the tax is one more opportunity for the “bloated Chico bureaucracy” to get more revenue
out of its residents.
“(City) taxes on water, electricity, natural gas and phone service are bleeding Chico’s citizens and businesses dry

12 Telephone users tax put before Chico voters – Chico Enterprise Record
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“City government must tighten its belt by cutting back on nonessential programs and services.”
As for arguments the measure’s failure will cause cuts to critical city services, “isn’t that what they always say?”
Sorensen said. “It’s up to us what we cut.”
“Another problem is it’s regressive, so it hits lower-income folks harder than it does higher income because it’s a
bigger portion of their allegedly disposable income,” he added.
It also remains to be seen whether the city would lose any revenue, said Sorensen, who predicts there could be a
gain.
Councilman Scott Gruendl disagrees.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” he said. “Part of the argument in opposition to the tax measure is it’s
more taxation on the people, when in reality, the existing tax ordinance is out of date … Something that never gets
said is the fact we will be taxing cellphones — we already tax cellphones now.”
Gruendl has also heard criticism the city lowered the rate to deceptively encourage voters to support the measure.
Yes, the city wanted to incentivize people, he said, but it lowered the rate to not boost city revenue when more people
begin to be taxed.
“We wanted to be as budget neutral as possible,” he said.
Connect with Ashley Gebb at 896-7768, agebb@chicoer.com, or on Twitter @AshleyGebb

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2 Responses to “The new buzz phrase – “budget neutral…””

  1. Joseph October 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Congratulations for making the newscast. What channel?

    And Little paid over $448,000 for that house? What was he thinking? And my God, what kind of money do the people at the Enterprise Wretched make? Or maybe he’s married to a rich woman?

    But geez, I will never understand why someone would pay so much for a house like that.

    • Juanita Sumner October 17, 2012 at 5:18 am #

      yeah, Dave Little is one of the people that drove up the price of housing in Chico just by moving here with a pocketful of cash and getting snookered on a house. Thanks Dave!

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