NO on H: BC and Bob respond to Measure H proponents

12 Oct

The following is a comment BC made on my last post.

An editorial was recently submitted to the Chico News and Review by a local politician in support of the Measure H tax increase. it is responded to here, point by point.

Want better roads? Better parks? Better public safety? Better housing solutions? A vote for Measure H is a vote for a better Chico.

Response: Of course, voters want better roads, a cleaner park, and a safer environment. But there is nothing in Measure H that mandates the funds be spent on any of those items. The additional funding will be spent where existing funding goes: salaries, benefits, unfunded pension liability and catch-up provisions, and unfunded post employee benefits

Rapid population growth, the Camp Fire, COVID-19 and increased community needs have stretched our finances. Maintaining roads, preserving Bidwell Park, keeping neighborhoods safe and creating durable housing solutions takes resources the city simply does not have.

Response: There have been more than adequate resources from State and Federal programs to offset COVID-19 and the Camp Fire. The suffering at a personal level is significant and not to be discounted. Many burned out families are still waiting for restitution. But at the City level by some estimates, the Camp fire was a money maker for Chico. Population growth, along with deteriorating roads and parks are all issues that predate COVID and the fire. The reason there is no funding for these issues is city pension liability. There are the pensions, and everything else.

Chico is only one of eight California cities over 50,000 residents without a local sales tax. Of those eight cities, Chico’s general fund budget is the lowest per capita.

Response: This type of comparison is vapid. How are the other 8 cities without a sales tax doing? This line of poor reasoning also shows up in comments like: Chico has less employees than other cities our size, we need more. Our director of “XYZ” makes less that comparable directors, he needs a raise. Every other city of our size sends its employees to the national conference in Hawaii/Las Vegas/Washington, DC, our people should go as well. It all leads to an escalating size of government without any critical thought or analysis. (E.g. Why do employees need a raise when they are well paid, and there is a line out the door of qualified applicants who will take the position?)

The sales tax will add $1 to every $100 spent (groceries, rent and prescription medications aren’t taxed) and will generate $24 million a year to invest in our community.

Response: It would take $2.4 Billion in sales to generate $24 million in revenue @ 1%. Pulling $24 million out of the local economy so it can be redistributed to City employees, benefits and pensions is not an “investment”. If you want to know how any new tax revenue will be spent, look at how the EXISTING money is spent.

Measure H spending decisions will be made locally. We’ll be able to will make improvements to Chico that not only will enhance our daily lives but also create jobs. Chico would be able to support local social service agencies and provide housing assistance.

Response: How are those “locally made” decisions serving you currently? The roads are bad, the park is a run-down and the local agencies are underfunded. Raising taxes does not create jobs, except for the tax collectors and the administration that you have to set up at the city level to monitor the tax.

Measure H has support from across the political spectrum. Seven former Chico mayors endorse Measure H, as do seven of the eight council candidates.

Response: The measure is supported by local politicians who view growth of government as a public good. They have a vested interest. This is the equivalent of going to a Friday-night high school football game, and asking the fans in the grandstands if they like football.

Thanks BC! – I also liked Bob’s response –

These were the people on whose watch the pension and OPEB deficit blew up and who spent our money very unwisely in other areas. They created today’s problems. So now we are supposed to take their advice?

All this tax will do is enable the current local politicians to continue the bad spending of the seven former mayors who caused our problems.

When will people wake up and stop listening to those who got us into this mess? Listening to Schwab discuss a tax increase is like listening to an arsonist lecture you on fire prevention.

Thanks BC and Bob for pointing out the flaws in the H campaign, and why we should vote NO on H.

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