“Why is there always enough money for large pensions and raises (and propaganda) for bureaucrats yet never enough money to maintain the streets?”

4 Mar

I want to thank Dave for writing this kick-ass letter to the Enterprise Record last week. I know it ran either the day before or the day of the Finance Committee meeting last week and I know Mark Orme read it. Now I also know I’m not the only person who has a problem with paying for a campaign to raise my taxes to pay  for the pension deficit created by years of entitlement. 

Orme mentioned the pensions, but would not admit they are the real drive behind a revenue measure. He said they want the money to either  fix streets or hire more cops. But we’ve all seen the method by which they transfer money from every department into the “Pension Stabilization Trust” and the “UAL” fund to pay down a deficit that the employees created themselves by not paying enough into their own pensions. 

Write your own letter folks – don’t be an ostrich, stick your head up and be heard. 

Why is there always enough money for large pensions and raises for bureaucrats yet never enough money to maintain the streets?

And now our city council members have decided there is plenty of money in city coffers to propagandize the public, so they are giving tens of thousand of our tax dollars (and most likely more later) to a PR firm to sell us another bond measure (just another type of tax increase) or a sales tax increase. And this does not include the cost of the city bureaucracy’s staff time. Is this how you want your hard-earned tax dollars spent?

And whatever tax increase they sell you will be just a down payment as the city’s unfunded pension liability will only get worse. Just wait for the next recession and stock market plunge. Then the politicians will spend more of your tax dollars to sell you yet another tax increase.

I urge everyone to read the long time political watchdog and journalist Dan Walters’ editorials: “Despite law, politicians use taxpayer funds for campaigns,” “Local tax hikes cleverly packaged,” “Cities should fess up about taxes, pensions,” and “Property tax surge reveals the truth: Local tax hikes are all about pensions” athttps://calmatters.org/articles/author/dan-walters/. (Some of these editorials ran in the Chico ER.)

As Walters notes, “With very rare exceptions, however, officials who place the tax increases on the ballot will not publicly say the extra revenue is needed to offset rising pension costs. Rather, on the advice of high-priced consultants, they say the money is needed for popular police and fire services and parks.”And he says, “The League of California Cities has raised the alarm about ‘unsustainable levels’ of pension costs. Isn’t it time for the cities themselves to be truthful when they ask voters for new taxes?”

Our community is in a state that has some of the highest taxes and living expenses in the nation. And if the local politicians have their way your taxes and expenses are going up. Also, wages in Butte County are in the bottom 10 percent of the larger counties in the nation. California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 19% and Butte County is even worse at 21%. It is unfair to increase this community’s tax burden while government employee pensions go unreformed.

It is long past time for politicians to spend within our means and represent us instead of special interests at our expense.

4 Responses to ““Why is there always enough money for large pensions and raises (and propaganda) for bureaucrats yet never enough money to maintain the streets?””

  1. Jim March 4, 2019 at 7:09 am #

    Yeah. I notice Action News is playing along with the who “give us more money” scam.

    I had a prof in college that explained it as “the oldest game in town.” For example he said, the school district will say that if they don’t get more money they will need to get rid of the football team. They always threaten the most obvious thing that we like.

    Notice they never threaten to cut management benefits.

    We need to make it clear that any new tax is a pension tax.

    • Juanita Sumner March 4, 2019 at 7:31 am #

      Thanks Jim, that’s what it is, the oldest game in town. And the school district is the biggest player because they’ve been allowed to pass huge bonds all these years with 55 percent of the vote. The city and CARD are both following the state legislation (two bills I’ve heard of so far) that would lower the threshold for municipal and other bonds to 55%.

      After CUSD passed Measure K , Finance Officer Kevin Bultema told me they had given the teachers all raises and were again short of money. He told me if they didn’t get more funding they would have to “cut programs.” Yeah, they use the survey to find out what programs are most popular and then put those programs on the cut list, that’s what the consultants are for.

      I’m thinking of forming a PAC – what do you think?

  2. bob March 4, 2019 at 6:36 pm #

    Here is another great letter. It was published today. I bet this same thing happens in Chico if our corrupt politicians and their high-priced consultant get that tax increase through. This could very well be a portent of things to come for Chico taxpayers.

    Letter: Shell game continues for funding pensions

    This year over $1 million was swept away from city improvements and funneled into the CALpers stabilization accounts.

    For those that voted themselves a one percent tax increase in hopes of fewer crimes, street repairs, and clean parks, I fear you will be disappointed. It’s all about the unsustainable CALpers fund. Oroville now has a one percent added-on sales tax plus a five percent Utility Users Tax.

    The shell games will continue. The city will still be crying poor. New fees and tax proposals will be pursued. The proceeds will be used for CALpers contributions in a futile attempt to delay its inevitable collapse.

    Please read the entire letter “Letter: Shell game continues for funding pensions” here


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