Speak now, or forever hold your hands over your junk

19 Apr

Here’s a California town that is  finally starting to wonder, “Didn’t we all fix this in 2012, by approving Proposition 30, increasing taxes on ourselves to fund education?”

Where did all the money go?”

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/opinion/districts-couldnt-stop-raising-employee-pay-now-kids-will-pay-the-price/

In 2012 San Diego County voters approved Prop. 30, a bond that delivered  over $1.25 billion, raising annual  funding by $4700/student. But, citing over 200 layoffs in one county district (  https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/sweetwater-considers-more-than-200-layoffs-and-closing-learning-centers/  ), redirection of special education funds in another district, and countywide budget problems, critics are saying the money was not used for the kids, but went into the pockets of those districts’ employees. 

“The truth is that districts are having difficulties because they’ve chosen to give most of this increased revenue to themselves, in the form of pay raises.”

“An analysis of pay data for San Diego County K-12 employees from 2012 through 2018 (the latest available) shows employees who have been with the district during this time have seen their median total pay rise $19,814/year, or 32 percent. That’s an average growth rate of 4.78 percent per year, during a period when funding rose at 5.38 percent per year.”

Furthermore, “according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the people of San Diego County have gotten raises at 2.21 percent per year.

“In other words, our school districts have been using their increased funding to give themselves raises at a rate matching the rise in revenue, well in excess of inflation or wage growth everywhere else.”

Let’s all harken back to 2016, when Chico Unified passed Measure K. 

https://wordpress.com/view/noonmeasurekchico.wordpress.com

Just a few months later, I heard CalSTRS and CalPERS were upping the required contributions for district employee pensions and benefits. I contacted district finance mangler Kevin Bultema and received the following response:

“The increase PERS and STRS 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.”

This isn’t just about school districts. All our local government agencies have the same problem. CARD will most certainly put up another tax measure, I’ll bet we’ll see it as soon as 2022.  The city is working now on their 1 cent sales tax increase measure.

But, steam is building, people are getting mad. In this last election, more bonds and parcel taxes were defeated than ever before. We may have reached the boiling point. So, we need to turn up the heat. 

It’s time to work harder than ever before to inform people about these tax measures, the pension deficit, the “catch-up” payments to CalPERS, etc.   

  • write letters to council members expressing your opposition to ANY tax increase measure until they clean their house. Remind them we beat Measure A and we’re ready to kick the shit out of whatever they got coming  (be nice!)
  • demand lower staff salaries and higher employee shares toward both payroll and “catch-up” pension payments
  • write letters to the papers saying same – the News and Review is back up online, although pretty weak, there is a comments mechanism and you don’t have to register to post 
  • make your own fliers and post them legally on bulletin boards around town – post the facts, keep it simple, stick to one subject at a time. For example, did you know, Chico city council members make $600 a month (mayor makes $720/month) and get health benefits packages worth about $18,000/each? Ask your district rep, it’s a real conversation starter!
  • join us here, cause if you live in the Chico City limits, you are a Chico Taxpayer. All I ask is you keep your comments on topic, no personal attacks, no spam. You don’t have to use your whole name, you can use a nick-name, and your email is undisclosed. You DON’T HAVE TO AGREE with me or other posters to join the conversation, but don’t come here looking for a piece of anybody or your comment will die lonely in the spam file.

The time to act is NOW. 

 

 

 

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