Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin lays out his scheme to “shoot (taxpayer) money into the economy at the time the economy is tanking…”

14 May

Just last month Chico City council listened to a consultant’s pitch about placing a revenue measure on the 2020 ballot. They voted to hire the woman, from the same firm that has passed two school bonds, EMC, of Oakland. They also approved a $60,000 budget to run a voter survey and then make a strategy for Staff to use the information gathered to twist sentiment in favor of higher taxes. 

I attended an earlier presentation before the Finance Committee and taped it. I was shocked at the statements made – they talk pretty frank at these morning meetings because they know nobody will show up. I was particularly interested in the presentation made by Chico assistant city manager Chris Constantin. Constantin has hatched the same plot described by Sacramento City mayor Darrell Steinberg – a shells and peas scheme called “securitization.” People need to know about this scam scheme, so I wrote a letter to the Enterprise Record. 

In 2018 57% of Sacramento voters passed Measure U, a half-cent sales tax increase.  Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg had promised voters new revenues would not go to employee pensions, instead toward economic development. However, immediately after the election, Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to place the revenues into the general fund, which pays for  salaries and pensions.

Lesson learned – with a simple majority measure, the voters lose control over how the money is spent.

Promising again to keep the money from going to the pension deficit, Steinberg proposes to “securitize” $25,000,000 of annual Measure U revenue to create a capital equity fund. That fund would finance the sale of bonds, to be repaid by Measure U receipts over a 25-year period. So, half the sales tax revenue would go toward creating more debt.  And the bond money could be spent at council’s indiscretion.

City of Chico staffers have proposed the same “securitization” plan to our council, who plan to put a revenue measure on the 2020 ballot.  Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin has proposed using a sales tax measure to fund bonds. Constantin told the Finance Committee the fund could be used to “shoot money into the economy at the time the economy is tanking…” He would not further explain this scheme to a skeptical committee, but assured Sean Morgan “we’ll contract the type of folks who can do it.”

Subsequently, Council approved up to $60,000 from the general fund to pay a consultant to talk us into this scam. Don’t fall for it.

 

6 Responses to “Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin lays out his scheme to “shoot (taxpayer) money into the economy at the time the economy is tanking…””

  1. Scott Rushing May 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm #

    Juanita: Another great article. This strategy is also known as “bait and switch.” The real goal appears to fund pension and increase payroll/jobs, not fix infrastructure and improve services and departments, like the police department, where I will direct criticism until changes are made. *Scott Rushing*

    On Tue, May 14, 2019 at 1:53 PM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “Just last month Chico City council listened to a > consultant’s pitch about placing a revenue measure on the 2020 ballot. They > voted to hire the woman, from the same firm that has passed two school > bonds, EMC, of Oakland. They also approved a $60,000 budget” >

    • Juanita Sumner May 14, 2019 at 2:27 pm #

      Thanks Scott, that is exactly right, bait and switch.

  2. Dave May 14, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

    And here are a couple sobering articles about the pension situation.

    Voters need to understand this before they vote on tax increases. The only solution is radical reform to government employee compensation, especially pensions.

    Alarming data shows public employee pension crisis worsening
    https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2019/05/04/editorial-alarming-data-shows-public-employee-pension-crisis-worsening/

    Sacramento politicians play Santa Claus while pension problem gets worse
    https://www.dailynews.com/2019/04/23/sacramento-politicians-play-santa-claus-while-pension-problem-gets-worse/

    Make no mistake about it. The politicians are captured by the special interests and they will tax the life out of you in a futile effort to fund these unsustainable pensions. And that includes Chico’s politicians.

    • Juanita Sumner May 14, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks Dave. I hope everyone reading this will forward these articles to people they know, share them on your social media, get the word out.

  3. Scott Rushing October 9, 2019 at 3:59 pm #

    Dear Juanita: The deposition of my K9 expert, Ernie Burwell, is typical of the hidden expenses incurred by the COB taxpayer due to, I believe, the misuse use of a BCSO K9, under the direction of CPD, to attack and bite my wounded son, Tyler. I realize you focus on pension reform and transparency and I agree that is important, however, there is a story to be told to the taxpayers that trigger happy cops are costing the loss of lives and taxpayer dollars. The costs are then hidden by the COB and Chico budget analysts and administrators. Proper leadership from the DA down to the cop on the beat would save lives and money. Scott Rushing 415 Lakewood Avenue Ventura, CA 93004 805.901.0900

    • Juanita Sumner October 9, 2019 at 6:31 pm #

      I agree Scott, the waste and fraud in the cop shop is outrageous.

      I can’t believe they sent a dog in on a wounded man, that’s like something out of a horror movie.

      Yes, it’s a leadership issue, lack if accountability at the top. We need a person who is not afraid of Ramsey.

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