No on H: I’m putting my ballot in the mail today

15 Oct

I got my ballot yesterday (Friday 10/14) and I couldn’t resist opening it as my husband and I enjoyed our tailgate lunch of chicken tenders from Raley’s. I managed to wipe off the ketchup and ranch dressing and then I got out my ink pen and voted NO on Measure H.

Ooops, missed some ketchup there.

That first line is a whopper – notice they list fairly specific uses but no dollar amounts. They are not allowed to make these promises because they put a simple measure on the ballot. They put a simple measure on the ballot because they didn’t want to be held to any specific promises, see how that works? The use they very pointedly don’t mention is the growing amount they are spending annually – $12.2 million last year, over $13 million projected this year – on the employee pension deficit.

It’s the reason why our parks and our streets look like crap, the unfunded actuarial liability. It’s ruining our credit rating and draining our city funds. You’d have to be pretty naive, like fresh off the turnip truck, to think they will not use this money to make bigger payments toward the pension deficit. They aren’t doing anything about the spiraling cost of the pensions, they keep offering unsustainable salaries and allowing employees to get away without making reasonable contributions toward pension cost, expecting the taxpayers to throw more and more money every year down a bottomless pit. This tax is not the only solution, as the proponents would have us believe.

The other whopper on this ballot is that the tax will generate $24 million annually. In order to generate $24 million in sales tax revenue on a one cent sales tax, we’d need $2.4 billion – BILLION! – in taxable sales, per year. Sheesh, what is that, everybody has to buy a new car every year? I don’t know if this town has enough taxable crap to generate $2.4 billion a year in taxable sales, we don’t even have Macy’s for cripesake. Sheesh, I had to go online today to buy an overflow plate for my bathtub, I couldn’t find one anywhere in town. After having driven tire-torturing streets, waiting in traffic, I had to come home and order one online – it’s frustrating dealing with a mismanaged town.

In their Argument For in the ballot pamphlet, proponents mention the use of some of the money to secure grants to do piecemeal work on infrastructure – but grants are specific, you can’t just use them to resurface roads. The grant the city received to fund the 20th Street bike bridge will cost the taxpayers over $300,000 in interest, for the matching funds they didn’t have when they secured the grant.

And then projects overrun cost, and the city just “allocates” more money from the General Fund. Last month council approved the allocation of another $100,000 for the tiny stretch of bike trail running between Little Chico Creek and 20th Street Park – less than a mile of bike trail. Their promises to do the real work needed – resurfacing our neighborhood streets, replacements like the disabled bridge on Guynn Avenue, the long-needed widening of Bruce Road – that’s never going to happen. Meanwhile they are eliminating parking requirements for developers and narrowing streets in new subdivisions.

The only thing certain to happen should this measure pass, is that they will put another measure on the ballot in four years, and another measure after that. They will let infrastructure lapse until we are pulling our hair out just getting across town, and then tell us that they don’t have enough money to do the needed work. Meanwhile, the salaries continue to go up, the fire department is getting raises next Tuesday, the cops just got raises a couple of months ago.

That’s just more gas on the pension fire!

So I’ll be putting my ballot in the mail today, and I hope you will do same, and I hope you’ll vote No on H.

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