NO on state Prop 13 AND CARD parcel tax measure A – as the voters keep passing tax increases on themselves, the publicly employed pigs will keep eating more and more of our economy

22 Jan

Lately I feel like the legendary Dutch Boy – I only have 10 fingers, but the local dikes are full of holes. Yes, I think this whole city districts thing stinks to high heaven. “Citizens for a Safe Chico”? Who is hiding behind that generic moniker? Dog houses for poor people – whacko!

I know other people here are similarly concerned – the two top searches for this week were “money given to the city of chico to house transients” and “why are pacs bad” .

I’ll try to answer those searches – 

  1. How much money has the city received to “house transients”?  The city of Chico declared a “shelter crisis designation” in 2018 and received $4.9 million in state grants. If you want to comb through the budget to look where that went, be my  guest – I’ll guess, it went to salaries/benefits, and the pension/benefits liabilities. Maybe they spent $100,000 on the warming tent, but I’d bet my last $5 most of it went to salaries and benefits. They got another $4 million or so for their plan (not yet realized) to “consolidate” homeless services at the Silver Dollar fairgrounds. In order to make room for adults who cannot seem to behave as adults, the city evicted a group who had put a lot of work and money into a kids’ public BMX track.  This did not surprise me – I’ll say, as a mom of two kids born and raised here, Chico has never been a child-friendly town. 
  2. Why are pacs bad? In my opinion they have way more rights than the rest of the voters, and therefore way too much influence on elections. The biggest donors in every Chico election are the public employee unions – specifically, Chico Police Officers Association (CPOA), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). You can find those reports at the  city of Chico website. But, every election brings up another pac, this year it’s “Citizens for a Safe Chico,” fronted by local businesswoman Teri Dubose. You will have to look at their campaign filings to find out who is really behind this group, and who they intend to foist into the arena. And, here’s what stinks – their last report isn’t due until after the election. That’s usually when the unions file their reports, after the fact. 

The good news is, we have until November to worry about the council elections. Right now, the March 3 election is rolling right up on us, and I believe the most important items on that ballot are California State Proposition 13 (Education finance: school facilities: Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020) and Chico Area Recreation District Measure A (parcel tax). 

I believe the proponents of Prop 13 purposely chose 13 to confuse voters, make them think they might be renewing or strengthening the original Prop 13. No, this measure essentially overturns the protections guaranteed in the original Prop 13, allowing the legislature to float bonds that we are not allowed to vote on. This in addition to bonds passed by our own school district. From Ballotpedia:

A “yes” vote supports this measure to authorize $15 billion in general obligation bonds for school and college facilities, including $9 billion for preschool and K-12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges.

Voters just approved the $126 million Chico Unified School District Measure K in 2016. At that time, Dave Howell wrote this in a letter to the Enterprise Record:

“Just four years ago voters approved a $78 million bond for Chico Unified School District. Now CUSD wants another $126 million for the same things the $78 million bond was supposed to fund. This despite declining enrollment and CUSD deferring maintenance on its facilities.”

Look at the history of STATE bonds at Ballotpedia – “Californians last voted on a school facilities bond measure in 2016, which passed with 55 percent of the vote. The bond measure, titled Proposition 51, issued $7 billion for K-12 education facilities and $2 billion for colleges. Between 1998 and 2019, voters approved five bond measures for school facilities—Proposition 1A (1998), Proposition 47 (2002), Proposition 55 (2004), Proposition 1D (2006), and Proposition 51 (2016).”

Remember, you pay these in addition to the bonds our school district issues. Wake UP!

Meanwhile, Chico Area Recreation District (CARD) has a parcel tax on the March 3 ballot – a tax that will start at $110/year and go up with the cost of living index – roughly 1.9 – 2% PER YEAR. What CARD doesn’t say in the ballot information is that they will use the proceeds from this parcel tax to issue bonds, creating a downward spiral of debt that your grandchildren will be saddled with. And they have the nerve to say, it’s all about the kids! Like the  city of Chico, CARD has been funneling hundreds of thousands toward their $2 million +++ pension liability. The funds from this parcel tax are not restricted to maintenance or capital projects, but will go to the General Fund to be spent at the discretion of the board and staff. 

What does CARD have in common with the school district? They both admit to having deferred maintenance while paying millions toward their pension deficit. Read a four year old piece by Dan Walters when he was still with the Sacramento Bee.

“School districts and other local governments often neglect maintenance of their facilities to meet demands for other spending, particularly pressure from unions for increases in pay and fringe benefits. Then, after the deferred maintenance results in deterioration that can no longer be ignored, officials draw up bond issues to make repairs that could have been avoided with proper maintenance.”

And here’s the proof that these monies are not really used “for the kids” –  a note I received from CUSD finance officer Kevin Bultema just months after the passage of Measure K.

The increase PERS and STRS [pension] costs are certainly a challenge for the district’s operations budget and will need to be addressed with either increased revenues from the state or cuts in CUSD’s program expenditures in the future.” 

See, right there he admits – they take money from the “district operations budget” to pay their pensions, and he furthermore admits that they will take more money to pay their pensions, at the cost of “CUSD’s program expenditures” – meaning, the kids!

Just six months later I read this in the Chico Enterprise Record: ““The board also voted to ratify a tentative agreement with the Chico Unified Teachers Association. That agreement will collapse the salary schedule, reducing the years of service necessary for a teacher to reach their maximum salary.”

Raises in salary mean raises in pensions which means an increase in the pension deficit, since this agreement did not result in the teachers paying more of their share. School district employees, like CARD, still pay less than 10% of their pension cost. 

So, as long as the voters keep passing tax increases on themselves, the publicly employed pigs will keep eating more and more of our economy. 

Are you sick of being a cash cow for these entitled bastards? Well SPEAK UP! Just say NO on tax measures, starting with California Prop 13 and CARD Measure A. 




8 Responses to “NO on state Prop 13 AND CARD parcel tax measure A – as the voters keep passing tax increases on themselves, the publicly employed pigs will keep eating more and more of our economy”

  1. Jim January 22, 2020 at 4:16 pm #

    No Pension tax!

    • Juanita Sumner January 24, 2020 at 5:57 am #

      You know, that’s what I’m afraid of – both the city and CARD could buy “pension obligation bonds” with the proceeds from their little tax measures, and then we’d be hooked up to the milking machine for life! Here’s a recent article from the OC Register:

      ‘Pension obligation bonds, or POBs, are a financial mechanism that allows state and local governments to reduce their current unfunded liabilities by borrowing against future tax revenue. In California, cities can borrow up to the amount they owe without voter approval.

      Sacramento invested in these bonds with the proceeds of their new sales tax, after promising the voters they’d use the money to fix up blighted neighborhoods. CARD has said they will buy bonds with the proceeds of parcel tax Measure A, and Chris Constantin wants to do same with proceeds from the city’s proposed sales tax increase. Both agencies have crafted their tax measures so that the revenues can go to the General Fund, with no restrictions on spending.

      And these bonds are risky, especially when you’re talking about the kind of idiots who run for public office in Chico.

      The simplest way to think about POBs is this: The money borrowed is then invested by CalPERS into various investments where, hopefully, returns on those investments will exceed the interest on the bonds, therefore earning money for the pension fund.

      Since higher yielding investments often come with more risk, these bonds are inherently precarious. And when they go bad, they go very bad.

      So I hope you will write a letter to the editor and tell people how bad these tax measures can go. Tell your friends and neighbors, tell the grocery clerk, tell every Chico voter you know.

      • bob January 24, 2020 at 7:05 pm #

        There’s no doubt the city and CARD are going to use the revenue from the tax increases to take on more debt.

        The only question is how much is it going to cost us.

        And you can bet that debt will be yet another reason for future tax increase demands. I guarantee it.

      • Juanita Sumner January 25, 2020 at 6:43 am #

        I agree – if the voters pass this measure we are on the hook for these pensions forever. PARKS NOT PENSIONS! NO ON A!

  2. bob January 24, 2020 at 7:01 pm #

    See, right there he admits – they take money from the “district operations budget” to pay their pensions, and he furthermore admits that they will take more money to pay their pensions, at the cost of “CUSD’s program expenditures” – meaning, the kids!

    But when they were pitching Measure K they were shrieking, “It’s for the children!”

    No, it was for the raises and the pensions!

    Read a four year old piece by Dan Walters when he was still with the Sacramento Bee.

    That’s one of the reasons the Bee got rid of him. He told too much truth about the government and that will not be tolerated.

    Ironically, now that he’s at his reach seems to have expanded as papers throughout the state run his columns. Heck, even the Chico ER does once or twice in a blue moon.

    • Juanita Sumner January 25, 2020 at 6:45 am #

      The people that run school districts have no interest in helping anybody, least of all “the kids”.

      You know, I wonder if Walters left the Bee because he saw they were going belly up.

      • bob January 25, 2020 at 8:46 am #

        It’s ironic…almost funny…that the Bee endorses every local tax increase and bond measure while the Bee’s pension system goes under.

        Most Bee employees will never have any pension and many have and will lose their jobs, yet they endorse never ending tax increases on themselves and everyone else for fat pensions for government employees.

        What the Hell are they thinking?

      • Juanita Sumner January 26, 2020 at 5:43 am #

        It looks as though they weren’t thinking!

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