Happy Anniversary Baby, I got taxes on my mind!

4 Feb

Yesterday was the anniversary of our first Chico Taxpayer’s Association meeting. I’d say we’ve had a great year, but that’s just me bragging. 

I had a busy day lined up yesterday, but took time out for a quick  meeting.  Consistency is a strength.  We had a couple of members unable to attend, so just discussed “old business” – mainly, the city is giving us the business regarding Measure J.

As a group we wondered aloud, how many people have applied for the cell phone tax refund, and how many have actually been paid?  I know one thing – every day I get searches regarding refunds directed to the blog, and at least a couple of people a day hitting that link to the application.   We are also curious as to the progress of staff to notify those cell phone companies currently collecting the tax that they must stop. Members agreed to make those inquiries of city staff.

Rick and Jim had a great idea – we need to ask the city to make it possible for people to apply electronically. Jim said he gets his phone bills electronically, and keeps them in a folder on his computer. Couldn’t he just attach that folder to an e-mail application form and send it in to the Finance Department? Here’s a guy who gets billed by computer to save the planet, but to get his refund, he has to print out all those five page phone bills (the tax is scattered throughout the bill), stuff it all into an envelope (more dead trees), stick at least two postage stamps on there, and mail it in? Or, take time off his job during the day to deliver it at Jennifer Hennessy’s convenience? 

You know they make it onerous on purpose. They don’t want us to get our refunds. They want to keep our stolen money. The year deadline is ridiculous – like Casey Aplanalp said in his (thanks Casey) letter to the editor, they stole that money, they shouldn’t be allowed to hold us off by the forehead with their little rules.

But, short of hiring a lawyer, there is not a lot we can do. It would be good if other people made these inquiries to staff and council – especially that idea about electronic applications. That ought to be the standard for all Utility Tax rebates too.   I will have to write a note when I get back to my desk later today. I hope more of you will write also. Go after that cow people. 

Thanks all, and see you next meeting, March 3!

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