City sales tax measure in June 23 agenda – speak up, we might still be able to keep this measure off the ballot

20 Jun

The agenda is out for this Tuesday, June 23, so-called “special” and most certainly CLOSED city council meeting. You can look at it here, on the Chico Engaged site.

I hate the report they’ve presented for 3.1 on the Consent Agenda – the mysterious Supplemental Allocation/Budget Modification. That’s a holdover from a cancelled meeting in April. Remember, they had a rainbow list of stuff to spend that projected money on, until Orme pulled the plug with dire predictions of COVID tanking our finances.

Now, look at the report in Tuesday’s agenda, Item 3.1, it’s nothing like the straight forward report in that April agenda. Can anybody tell me exactly where the money comes from, whether it exists or is still only a projection, and what exactly they intend to spend it on? They wrote the report “not for dummies,” so I don’t get it.

When will council get it? This is exactly the kind of stuff that leaves the public with a taste of mistrust.

Then there’s the ballot measures – wow, these all merit more serious discussion in OPEN meetings, but see how these guys are shoveling through this stuff just as fast as they can while they have the cover of COVID.

Again, this is what fosters mistrust in these people. Just keep it comin’!

Here’s my favorite ballot measure:

Shall an ordinance to fund essential city services such as preserving the number of on-duty police officers and fire fighters, protecting 911 emergency response times, maintaining and repairing streets, sidewalks and Bidwell Park, and funding other general services and essential activity, by establishing a 0.5 percent sales tax, providing approximately $9,000,000 annually until June 30, 2029, subject to annual audits, with all funds staying local, be adopted?

I’ve been waiting for this measure for years. They’ve been talking about it since at least 2012, when Tom Lando ran a survey. He reported a “negative” response, but the idea stuck. Since then both the city of Chico and Chico Area Recreation District have hired various consultants, all on taxpayer money, to run surveys trying to convince us that we do want to pay more taxes.

Here’s how that works. The consultant asked respondents to “rank” various arguments. “I’d like to read you statements from people who SUPPORT the Chico City Services Measure. After each one, please tell me how convincing [very convincing or somewhat convincing] that statement is as a reason to vote FOR the measure.”

That’s the Band Wagon Effect – telling you that other people support this measure. And then they begin campaigning for the measure by reading you reasons to support it.

They hold out a stick in one hand – implying cuts to fire and police – “We need to pass this measure to make sure city services can keep up with the increase in population, keeping us all safe and protecting our quality of
.” – and a carrot in the other – “much needed revenue for road upgrades and repairs“.

As you can see, looking at the proposed measure above, they use the most popular responses to write the measure.

I always wonder – am I the only one who is offended that they use my own money to manipulate me in this way? Using a survey of 400 people in a town of over 90,000? Really think I’m that dumb? Really?

When I looked at Chico Engaged I didn’t see any comments posted. I hope more people will tune in and chime in – we still might have a chance to stop this measure before it gets to the ballot.

4 Responses to “City sales tax measure in June 23 agenda – speak up, we might still be able to keep this measure off the ballot”

  1. Dave June 20, 2020 at 3:02 pm #

    I always wonder – am I the only one who is offended that they use my own money to manipulate me in this way?

    They take money from us in the form of taxes and use it to produce propaganda to increase our taxes. That’s how corrupt this system is.

    I emailed all the council members asking about the debt and about pension reform. Not one responded. NOT ONE!!! TALK ABOUT TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!

    Their expensive consulting firm said last year the tax would cost the average family of four an extra $800 a year in additional tax. So if they go through with what Ory is proposing it will be an extra $400, BUT if you watched the meeting you know Ory wants to come back for more later. He wants to double it and make it permanent. Remember, last year he wanted the permanent 1% sales tax increase AND a new property tax.

    Every member on the council wants to raise taxes and go deeper into debt, including the two so called conservatives, in an attempt to keep the pensions and OPEB going, really just kick the can down the road a few years when they will raise taxes again.

    And for what? So bureaucrats and other city government employees can retire in their 50s with pensions worth millions. THIS IN A COUNTY WITH A 21% POVERTY RATE BEFORE COVID! THAT IS DISGUSTING!!!


  2. Dave June 20, 2020 at 3:10 pm #

    Here’s what I sent all the council members two and a half weeks ago. Never heard from any of them.

    Hello Council,

    Tonight Orme will give his presentation regarding the sales tax measure. In that presentation he will briefly mention using money from the tax increase to take on bonded debt.

    My question for you is will you even bother to ask how many hundreds of millions of dollars more he will put the City in debt and how much that debt will cost? In April 2019 when you decided to move forward with the sales tax measure this issue was brought up and amazingly none of you bothered to ask. WHY??? ISN’T THAT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY???

    Also, reading Orme’s sales tax measure he makes no mention that the money from the sales tax will be used for bonded debt. Don’t you think that should be included in the measure? If people are going to vote themselves a tax increase shouldn’t they know the city will take on hundreds of millions of new debt with money from the tax increase? And shouldn’t they know how much that debt will cost? It is outrageous that Orme left that out!

    Orme is also asking for an additional $28,850 for another survey. Why would you even consider wasting more money on another survey? We all know the sole purpose of the survey is to help word the measure so it is most likely to pass. WHAT A SHAM!

    Before COVID, Butte County had a poverty rate of 21%. You can bet it’s much higher now. The fact that you are even considering going forward with a tax increase is OUTRAGEOUS! ESPECIALLY FROM THE 5 LIBERALS WHO CLAIM TO CARE SO MUCH FOR POOR AND WORKING PEOPLE!


    • Dave June 20, 2020 at 3:11 pm #

      And here’s the follow up email which included the original email above:

      Never heard back from you on this. WHY? TALK ABOUT TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!

      Before you raise taxes in a county with a 21% poverty rate BEFORE Covid why don’t you address pension and OPEB reform? Yet you NEVER EVEN MENTION THE UNSUSTAINABLE PENSIONS AND OPEB IN YOUR MEETINGS LET ALONE STUDY SOLUTIONS!

      You know or you certainly should that this tax increase and the debt you will incur WILL NOT SOLVE THE UNFUNDED PENSION AND OPEB LIABILITIES. So you must know future councils will face this problem and most likely try to increase taxes yet again to kick the problem down the road a few years.

      You don’t represent the taxpayers of Chico and never will.

      • Juanita Sumner June 20, 2020 at 3:48 pm #

        Thanks Dave, I think it’s important to press council right now.

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