NO ON A: Don’t be a tax slave, don’t turn your children into tax slaves

4 Feb

I sent the following letter to the Chico News and Review after I read Melissa Daugherty’s editorial about over compensation and pension deficit in the Chico Police Department. She singles out the cops – unfair, unfair – not only is the city management top-heavy, look at CARD. An agency with 34 full-time employees has racked up almost $3 million in pension deficit. A recreation district manager who makes over $124,000/year plus benefits but pays only 8% of what the agency pays (14%) of her own pension costs. 

The problem all public agencies have in common is that employees don’t pay enough of their own pension/benefits costs, expecting the taxpayers to pick up the tab for 70% – 90% of their highest year’s salary, in retirement. 

Don’t be a tax slave – get your letter in now – NO ON A!

All public agencies have the same spending problem. As Richard Ek reported in 2007,  ever-increasing salaries with little or no contribution from employees toward the cost of over-generous benefits packages have created enormous “liabilities”.  That is, the difference between what employees expect to get in pension, and what they pay into it.

Until recently,  for example, Chico Area Recreation District employees paid nothing toward their pensions, even those making salaries over $100,000/year. Now the General Manager, with a recent salary increase to $124,000/year, only pays 8% of that agency’s cost for a pension of 70% of highest year’s salary. This policy has created a pension deficit of over $2.7 million for an agency with only 34 full-time employees.

Both the city and CARD have proposed tax increases. CARD’s parcel tax,  Measure A, is on the March 3 ballot. They say they need more money to sustain services and infrastructure, but, like City of Chico, they admit to deferring maintenance on facilities for years while paying millions toward their pension deficit.

In 2015, a consultant told CARD he could bring Shapiro Pool up to code for about $550,000. The board paid $400,000 toward their pension liability, and closed Shapiro Pool.

No on Measure A.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

2 Responses to “NO ON A: Don’t be a tax slave, don’t turn your children into tax slaves”

  1. bob February 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm #

    If the supporters of Measure A were honest they would admit this is a pension tax.

    Local governments and school districts always tout these measures as necessary expenditures to rebuild crumbling schools, maintain overused parks and provide better police services, but don’t be fooled. Every new local tax these days is, essentially, a pension tax. These governments write the ballot summaries and provide “voter information,” so they are able to sway the discussion away from the true causes of their fiscal peril.


    Californians face a wave of local tax hike measures

    The economy has been booming over the last decade, which has provided local governments with a windfall in sales and property taxes. Despite the economic fat times, California cities have been complaining about their dire economic straits, with some of them even fearing insolvency unless something is done to change the financial trajectory.

    What explains this dichotomy? The answer is simple. The costs of public employee compensation, especially pension and retiree-medical benefits, continue to climb exponentially and are consuming ever-larger portions of local general-fund budgets. One need only look at the Transparent California website to get a sense of the eye-popping levels of pay and benefits.

    Instead of addressing this well-documented problem, state and local leaders have relied on a tried-and-true method: asking local taxpayers to increase taxes on themselves. California voters will see the latest evidence of this at the ballot box during the March 3 primary. The California Taxpayers Association (CalTax) recently published a list of more than 230 tax increases that will be on local ballots.

    Read the entire article here

    • Juanita Sumner February 5, 2020 at 6:26 am #

      As I’ve spoken to people I find most are completely ignorant of the pensions, the cost, and who pays.

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