ER editor stumps for a tax increase, time to write those letters!

17 Jun

 

The ER recently published a very insulting editorial.

Editorial: Discussion of a tax could loom for Chico

First of all, Editor acts as though he’s bringing up the subject of a tax – where has he been? The city has been kicking this idea around for years now, and has spent 10’s of thousands of taxpayers dollars on consultants. 

That’s the real story – spending taxpayer money on tax measures is illegal. Wake up Mr. “News”(?) editor. 

Not one word about the pensions.  Not one word about the garbage tax money that was just “stolen” (Karl Ory’s word) to pay salaries, benefits and pensions for non-street maintenance personnel. Just a not-very-clever ploy for bringing the “t-word” out of the closet. As if it’s some novel new idea, being suggested by a gosh-darn good old citizen!

Well, here’s what needs to be brought out of the closet – the Stanford Institute pension tracker.

https://www.pensiontracker.org/agencySummary.php?agency_name=City+of+Chico&id=1390&search=Search

This link covers the city of Chico, but you can find other local entities, like Chico Area Recreation District (CARD). This site blew my mind – what we have here, essentially, is two sets of books, one that reflects reality, and one that reflects what Staff has been telling us. Staff has  been reporting the “actuarial” figure as our total deficit – $127,864,195 as of 2017. The actuarial figure assumes a high return on the stock market, and that hasn’t been happening.  Our market deficit – what we owe – is over $400,000,000.  That’s what we owe employees, minus our “assets”. Study the chart yourself – it’s outrageous. 

I really appreciated Steve Wolfe’s kind words, so I wrote another letter to the paper. I included a link to this blog, so people can see the pension tracker for themselves. I hope to hear more people expressing some outrage over this issue, I think we can beat this thing before it gets out of the barn.

I keep hearing a popular chant from high school football running through my head – Push ’em back, push ’em back, waaaaaay back!

When we discuss the “t-word”, there are two other words that need to be included – “pension deficit” – the  difference between what public employees want to get in retirement, and what they expect to pay. Chico employees expect to get 70 – 90 percent of salaries over $100,000 a year while paying less than $10,000/year into the system themselves. 

CalPERS promised to fund the deficit with stock market investments but has failed miserably, and now expects the taxpayers to pay billions.  While Chico staffers cry poormouth and promise to use a new tax for infrastructure, they siphon millions a year  out of “dedicated” funds – like the street maintenance and sewer funds – toward their pension deficit.  City leaders told us they’d fix our streets with the garbage tax but recently directed this year’s takings to the general fund to pay unrelated salaries, benefits, and pensions.  

According to the Stanford Institute, the city of Chico carries over $418,000,000 total pension debt. That’s $11,329 per household, the majority of whom survive on less than  $43,000/year.  Staff says they don’t have enough money to maintain our streets and other infrastructure, while they funnel millions into the “Pension Stabilization Trust” every year. 

Editor warns, “If that one tax measure disappoints, the electorate will likely slam the door on future ones for a long time.” Why be stupid enough to approve a tax measure when we’ve already been disappointed? Would private sector employees get away with this? No. Time for staff to pay their own pensions.    

Find sources at chicotaxpayers.com

3 Responses to “ER editor stumps for a tax increase, time to write those letters!”

  1. bob June 17, 2019 at 1:53 pm #

    And the gas tax goes up another 5.6 cents on July 1.

    And of course the gas tax perpetually increases because the tax is indexed to inflation, although the July 1 increase is a different increase.

    And every year the separate cap and trade tax goes up and that also hits gasoline.

    In this state all levels of government try to squeeze every penny they can out of us. The tax increases never stop.

    And the politicians could not care less. The only thing they care about are the special interests. The politicians in this state are truly the enemy of the people. How could anyone come to any other conclusion?

    • Juanita Sumner June 19, 2019 at 6:36 am #

      That’s a good point, the city is getting more gas tax receipts all the time, yet they have to put forward a revenue measure to fix our streets.

  2. bob June 23, 2019 at 12:08 pm #

    Great article by Walters.

    https://calmatters.org/articles/commentary/bill-reduces-ballot-measure-transparency/

    It would allow local officials to remove the required information about tax consequences from the ballot summary that voters read before casting their votes and place it, instead, in the voter pamphlet or another separate statement, where it would get much less attention.

    How much you want to bet that CARD and the City will use this to their advantage on their 2020 tax increase measures?

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