Coolidge admits the sales tax increase revenues would go toward the bond payments – “then it would fall away and it would just include public safety…”

1 Apr

Back to the March 24 Finance Committee meeting. I’ve already hashed over the Business/Residential Residential Tax conversation, the next item on the agenda was a discussion of the proposed sales tax increase and “road bond” measures.

Andrew Coolidge, mayor and FC chair, opened the meeting with comments about “the struggles of 2019“. What struggles? Did your house burn down Mr. Mayor? Did your town burn down? No, actually, the city of Chico rode out the Camp Fire with more than $20 million in surplus revenues by July 2020, mostly sales tax. Staff received “back fill” from the state for all “lost” tax revenues. And, the demand for housing went through the roof – according to the finance report at the end of the meeting, property values in Chico went up 5% more than the rest of the county in 2020. Currently home prices in Chico are up 8%. This windfall has resulted in more revenues from not only property taxes but an increase in RDA revenues.

But remember, Coolidge was setting the scene for not one but TWO revenue measures. Can’t tell people the real truth – revenues in the city have been more than staff predicted every year since the Camp Fire. The real reason Staff wants these tax measures is to secure the Pension Obligation Bond they are quickly implementing behind closed doors.

In fact, Services Director Scott Dowell informed the committee that any bonds, whether Pension Obligation Bonds or “road” bonds, would “have to have a revenue stream attached to pay for those bonds“.

Coolidge referred to the sales tax increase measure, commenting, “then it would fall away and it would just include public safety…” .

Yes, they intend to use the sales tax measure, which they’ve sold as a “special tax for cops and fire”, to secure the POB. The city is broke, where else we gonna get the money to make those bond payments, but a sales tax increase? The consultant who presented the POB said that most jurisdictions that implemented POB’s had to raise sales tax to cover it.

Coolidge would like us to believe there would be something left over for “cops and fire”, whatever that means, but let’s face it – with a $147 million pension deficit, and another $150 million interest owed on that deficit, there’s not EVER going to be anything left of the sales tax revenues. In fact, I’ll tell you what – they’ll take the bond money from the “road bond” too – there’s nothing to stop them from transferring those funds into the General Fund.

Well, I’ve had an incredibly hard time posting this. No, I don’t have the greatest internet, as observed by Sean Morgan during the meeting. I’ll leave it here – you got the point.

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