City’s tax measure is a “bait and switch”

15 Jun

Why are things like gyms and hair salons, even Cal Skate, opening up but city hall still shut down to the public?

Because they’re working on their tax measure. Chico city mangler Mark Orme says they only have until July 7 to get it finished. The county clerk’s deadline for submission of ballot measures is July 10.

At the upcoming June 23 meeting, $taff is supposed to introduce the text for what council agreed to at the June 9 meeting – Karl Ory’s proposal for a half-cent sales tax increase, to begin in late 2021, with a “sunset”, or termination date, yet to be finalized.

This is an old tactic, and used very commonly. Propose a smaller tax, with a sunset date, and then delay the implementation until people forget they passed it. Then chide them about how little they noticed it, and convince them to make it bigger and permanent on a subsequent ballot.

In 2011, Jerry Brown put a half cent increase on the ballot, Proposition 30, saying it would be “temporary”. He also wrote in an income tax increase for people making over $250,000, because polls at the time showed that a large number of California voters believed the state was “divided between the haves and have-nots”, and most believed they were among the “nots”, so it was more likely to pass if it took a poke at the upper class.

In 2014, he “slammed” Republicans for blocking an extension of this “temporary” tax. Later that year he ran a survey that indicated 53% support for extending the tax.

He tried to make both taxes permanent in 2016 but polls indicated voters would only support the tax on “the rich”. So Brown put Prop 55 on the 2016 ballot and the voters made the “tax on the rich” permanent.

There were a lot of local income tax measures on the ballot that year.,_2016_ballot_measures_in_California

And a lot of them passed. Parcel taxes and bonds of all kinds. That was the year both Butte College and Chico Unified put bonds on our homes. The voters approved those with very high margins.

But March 2020 was the turnaround. Many local tax measures failed, in fact, Tehama County kicked the shit out of theirs. And, the CARD parcel tax measure didn’t even get a simple majority. The analysts call this “tax fatigue.”

So, you see why Mark Orme and Chris Constantin are afraid to put up a 2/3’s measure. It’s certainly not because it would have to be dedicated, because it is not true that a 2/3’s is automatically dedicated. Measure A, for example, was not dedicated, but required 2/3’s.

In order to get the 2/3’s people off their back, they offer a smaller tax and a sunset. Ory is hoping the Chamber of Commerce will drop their demand for a 2/3’s measure and run their campaign for them.

We’ll see if they bite.

5 Responses to “City’s tax measure is a “bait and switch””

  1. Dave June 15, 2020 at 6:56 pm #

    And the state is going to take on huge new debt. Walters calls it a wall of debt and some of the money will be used to build the state politicians fancy new offices.

    As far as Ory’s tax increase is concerned, I could be wrong, but I think it would start in June of next year. I thought Ory said fiscal year 2022 which I believe begins in June 2021.

    Also, I think he said an 8 or 9 year sunset, BUT you can bet they will make a big push to double it and then make it permanent in the 2022 election. Remember, last year Ory said he wanted 2 tax increases! He wanted a permanent sales tax increase of 1% AND a new permanent property tax.

    Also, they are going to use revenue from the tax to take on new debt, but they won’t mention that until after the tax increase has passed. BUT you know they are going to do it. Just look at the document Orme provided for the meeting. It mentioned options for taking on new debt. And amazingly NO ONE on the council even asked a question about that like how much would that debt cost in interest and fees? They are going to do it because the new tax comes nowhere close to bailing out the pensions and other post-employment benefits.

    The people we have running this city are very deceitful and very immoral. How can anyone deny that?

    • Juanita Sumner June 16, 2020 at 5:04 am #

      Thanks Dave, the voters won’t hear this stuff any where else!

  2. Scott Rushing June 15, 2020 at 11:03 pm #


    On Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 3:29 PM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: ” Why are things like gyms and hair salons, even > Cal Skate, opening up but city hall still shut down to the public? Because > they’re working on their tax measure. Chico city mangler Mark Orme says > they only have until July 7 to get it finished. The coun” >

  3. bob June 16, 2020 at 11:53 am #

    The need for pension reform becomes even more urgent…

    Heads They Win, Tails Taxpayers Lose: Calpers Doubles Down On Risky Investments

    The author recommends reforms implemented by Wisconsin, yet our city council never mentions pension reforms and instead wants to raise taxes. In all their talk of budget problems this year they never once even mentioned pensions. But plenty of talk on raising the sales tax. By now, we should all no that won’t work. Just look at other cities in this state with sales taxes over 10% and huge unfunded pensions. We have a terrible city council and that includes the two so-called conservative members.

    • Juanita Sumner June 16, 2020 at 1:39 pm #

      I agree – although, I did hear Dowell mention the pensions in passing during the supplemental budget discussion – he said they’ll go ahead and make the annual UAL payment of $9 million in July.

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