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This election is going to be over fast, let’s start thinking November

8 Feb

I got my ballot with county voting guide a few days ago, and mailed my completed ballot yesterday. I’ve been ready for this election for years now, believe me. I’ve been watching attempts to disable Prop 13 coming through the legislature and I’ve been watching Chico Area Recreation District fumble along with their tax measure. Dan Walters and other political observers have been telling us about the ginormous pension deficits around the state, so who would be surprised at all the tax measures that are making their way, again, like some rough beast, toward the ballot. 

It was a no-brainer, as far as I’m concerned – No on 13, No on A.

And now it’s off to November! 

Whether or not we are successful in beating Measure A, we have to start watching CARD more closely. Board members Tom Lando and Michael Worley are both up for re-election in November, and I think Lando needs to go. He is the driving force behind the tax measures coming forward this year, he’s been working toward a tax measure since 2012. He even paid for a survey out of his own pocket – but that survey came back negative. So he put his name in the hat for CARD board, and since nobody ran against him, he was appointed. Yes, it’s that easy. 

As board member he has pushed forward this parcel tax, offering one rainbow promise after another, without once admitting that CARD’s real financial problem is the employees don’t pay enough toward their own ridiculous pensions. 

Why would Lando admit that – he is one of the top five living pensioneers in Butte County. Of course it is in his best interest, as well as that of CPOA president Jim Parrott, who co-signed the Argument For Measure A, to make sure CalPERS is funded. 

Lando put $6,000 into this measure, that we know of. CPOA tossed in $1,000. But wow – $50,000 from the Service Employees International Union – which represents full-time employees of CARD? That’s not obvious? Hey, pull your underwear off your face!

Jim Parrott is also Board President of Chico Swim Association. That’s no co-inky-dink, Folks.  These people take these positions so they  can work together to control our community. I don’t care if that sounds like a conspiracy theory, it’s true. CARD is an agency that can raise taxes, that is where Lando’s interest lies – making sure his $150,000/year plus COLA pension is funded by the taxpayers. And Chico Swim Association is nothing more than a satellite of CARD, run by the president of a public employees’ union? If you don’t get that, I don’t know how to explain it. 

Suffice to say, we need to pay more attention to these public agencies and who is running them off the cliff.  Lando and Worley are up in November. Lando originally got his seat because nobody ran against him. That can’t happen again, we need to find some competent candidates to take these people on. It’s only a two year term, with one or two meetings a month. 

Meanwhile, Chico council members Randall Stone, Karl Ory, Sean Morgan and Ann Schwab are also up for re-election in November. Thank Goodness Karl Ory has announced he will not seek re-election – I don’t remember a nastier, more divisive person on council, unless it’s Randall Stone. I wish Stone would throw in the towel, he’s had his shot. So have Morgan and Schwab, for that matter. This is why I voted YES on Measure S in 2018 – some people need to be shown the door by way of term limits. Unfortunately, the measure allows for sitting council members to “start over” – Schwab gets two more terms, despite her many clueless years on council. 

I don’t mind saying, this is a daunting commitment. For one thing, city council seats have gotten expensive, 10’s of thousands to run for a public office that only pays less than $20,000/year. But there is a very nice health insurance package – I’ll have to ask about that, I’m sure those have gone up since I last checked. Of course, there are two, very onerous meetings a month, and you’re on the hook for 4 years. Look at it like community service that insures your entire family for four years, maybe that sounds better. 

At any rate, this is the conversation I want to have over the next few months – get your flashlight, and start looking  for 10 honest people. 

NO ON A: “Who carries the burden for this tax?”

5 Feb

From a guy I have seen at many meetings, THANKS RANDY!

I received a very nice mailer today indicating major funding from SEIU Union 1021 in support of Measure A, the CARD parcel tax proposal.

Just to encourage you to contemplate the issue, this is a parcel tax, not a tax related to the value or number of residences on a parcel.

The proposal is for a single family home to pay $85 per year plus cpi increases, a 100-unit apartment complex will pay a total of $85 per year also, not 100 times $85.  Again, this is a parcel tax.  Who carries the burden of this tax?

I have been told that the CALPERS annual pension contribution is a major line item for CARD.

— Randy Coy, Chico

Thanks Dave for this great printable “NO on Measure A” flyer

2 Feb

VOTE NO ON MEASURE A

CARD’s PERMANENT, PERPETUALLY INCREASING NEW TAX

Why Should You Vote No On Measure A?

• There is No Guarantee How the Money Will Be Spent
The measure contains a long list of goals and projects but no dollar amounts or completion
dates are assigned to anything. Even more of the general fund money that should already go to
these goals and projects can be made available for unsustainable pensions, benefits and raises.

• CARD Will Take on Tens of Millions of Dollars in New and EXPENSIVE Debt
The media reported that if the tax passes CARD will establish a $36 million dollar project fund
costing $2 million annually in debt service while only making $1 million annually available for
projects. THAT’S CRAZY! No wonder CARD didn’t mention the fund in the ballot measure.

• The Tax Automatically Goes Up EVERY Year
Indexed to the CPI the tax is perpetually increasing. Imagine if we have 1970’s style inflation
when the CPI went up nearly 15% in a single year! Even with relatively low inflation the
compounding effect over time will be significant. This is unfair to those on fixed incomes such
as seniors and others whose incomes do not keep pace with inflation.

• The Tax is PERMANENT Despite What CARD Says
CARD deceitfully says the tax will be in effect until “ended by voters.” Do you think CARD
will ever put a repeal on the ballot? Of course NOT! It will require professional signature
gathers to collect in excess of 12,000 signatures to get a repeal on the ballot and that will cost
thousands of dollars. Who is going to pay for that? No one! You will NEVER get a chance to
repeal this tax.

• The Tax is REGRESSIVE
All properties taxed the same regardless of value. Those least able to afford it are hurt the most.

• Benefits Specials Interests Who Have Raised Over $60,000 For Passage

• CARD’s Revenue Has Been Growing for Years – Up 43% since 2013

• So CARD Has a Spending Problem, not a Revenue Problem
Money that should have been spent for maintenance, new facilities and programs has been spent by CARD on massive unfunded liabilities made up chiefly of unrealistic pension and other post employment benefit promises. Existing funding can’t keep up with the growth of these
unsustainable liabilities hence the Measure A tax and tens of millions in new debt.

INSTEAD OF A PERMANENT, PERPETUALLY INCREASING, REGRESSIVE TAX AND TENS
OF MILLIONS OF NEW DEBT DEMAND CARD REFORM ITS UNFUNDED LIABILITIES!
HOLD CARD ACCOUNTABLE AND VOTE NO ON MEASURE A! DON’T BURDEN YOUR
CHILDREN WITH CARD’S DEBT! GO TO

http://CHICOTAXES.HOME.BLOG

TO GET THIS FLYER AND DISTRIBUTE IT TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! THANK YOU!

Thanks Joe Azzarito for a great letter to the editor! NO ON A!

31 Jan

From yesterday’s Chico News and Review:

As a member of Sons and Daughters of Italy Vincenzo Bellini Lodge 2519, I believe playing bocce ball is an important activity for Italians. At a Chico Area Recreation and Park District meeting, the topic of adding courts to a local park was discussed. Measure A, foisted on Chico by CARD, could provide this but at what cost?! The parcel tax, to be on our March 3 primary, is not the solution.

CARD gives lip service to what the public wants or thinks it needs. The recreation department, like all forms of government, feeds itself first of any and all funds, then cries wolf when it comes to everyone else.

They’ll tell you: We need more money to do stuff for you! We promise to keep our word and spend only on you. From the news comes word of potential revenue—most of it will go for debt service. That’s loan interest, folks! They are in hock up to their ears in pension deficits. It is easy to see why they always need more; they can’t pass up an expense for themselves and, therefore, they are broke, were it not for this proposed biased, ever-increasing, perpetual tax borne by homeowners and businesses.

Remember no on A.

Joe Azzarito

Chico

How to write a letter to the editor

29 Jan

I’m working on my election letter to the Enterprise Record. My English 1A professor called this a “thought flow”

  • Chico Area Recreation District Measure A is a parcel tax 
  • This tax will start at $85/year, per parcel, but will increase annually with the Cost of Living Index (roughly 2% currently, this number goes up every year)
  • This tax has no sunset date
  • This tax will be administered equally between giant corporate properties and small residences. In other words, you will pay the same tax on your Chapmantown crapper that Ken Grossman pays for all that bling over on 20th Street.
  • You will also pay the same tax as giant apartment houses full of 100’s of people – renters probably won’t even notice it, but homeowners will.
  • CARD gets about $5 million a year in tax revenues, including a little over a million in “RDA passthrough” and another $3 million from county prop tax receipts, and then another $200,000 in neighborhood assessments collected from homeowners and park development funds from developer fees. 
  • what is RDA Passthrough? CARD manager Ann Willmann  tries to deny that this is tax money. The Redevelopment Act was set up in 1945, mostly to fund schools. It is funded from the annual increase in your property taxes.  From a study conducted by Sonoma County schools a few years ago – “Simply put, tax increment is the annual increase in property tax revenues in a redevelopment project area above a base year amount.”  They put that money in a fund and divvy it out to various public agencies. How can she say that’s not tax money? 
  • CARD only gets about $3.6 million from program fees and facility rentals.
  • CARD spends over $5 million on salaries and benefits. 
  • CARD spends less than $2 million on “services and supplies”. That figure includes everything from maintenance costs to supplies for office parties. 
  • CARD also makes “side payments” toward the pension deficit out of a “Pension Stabilization Trust”. The trust is funded with money from the General Fund. 
  • The 2017-18 budget shows the Capital Projects fund is $340,376 in the negative. 
  • While this parcel tax will not go into the General Fund, it will free up all the General Fund for paying the pensions. f

The above amounts to over 400 words, but yeah, it can be cut down to 250 pretty easily, I’ll work on that later. The first thing I will do is eliminate repetition, then use contractions for stuff like “it is” – that actually really cuts down a letter, saying “it’s”, etc. Then I will look for unnecessary words. 

Later we’ll have some fun with math – here’s a word problem – what percentage of CARD revenues go to salaries and benefits? Just regular payroll – I have not had time to add up all their “side fund payments” to CalPERS, but I know they’ve put over a $1 million into the Pension Stabilization Trust in just the last year. 

Feel free to use these points in your letter to the editor – you can look at the 2017-18 CARD budget for yourself here:

Click to access 2017-18+Budget+-+Version+2.pdf

POST SCRIPT: A very important point I left out:

  • CARD employees pay only 5.5 – 8% of the agency cost of their pensions – that’s next time!

SEIU local 1021 has over $50 million in assets – see their Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax here

18 Jan

Against my better judgement I just watched “The Irishman”. It was weird watching actors play people I remembered from real life.

Jimmy Hoffa was a fixture of my childhood. I remember thinking he was a funny little guy, always punctuating his speeches with that pointed finger. Of course I remember seeing “Have you seen Jimmy Hoffa?” with a phone number, on bumpers everywhere. Probably one out of four cars had that bumper sticker, along with “Welcome to California, now lower your expectations…”

I had already read Frank Sheeran’s story about what happened, I knew it down to the details. That stuff doesn’t really shock me anymore. I read an abridged version of “Serpico” in the Reader’s Digest when I was 13 or 14 years old. I read “The Godfather” when I was about 15. I read the newspapers since I was a tiny child. It was all right there – the world can be ugly, corrupt, and there is no Lone Ranger. 

I was not shocked at Sheeran’s allegations that management union figures got huge salaries and pensions and lived like kings. If you think that’s fiction or ancient history, you might look at the IRS forms filed by California unions.

This link takes you to the Opt-out Now website, to a page about one specific SEIU group in the Bay Area. Go to the bottom “frequently asked questions”, click on “how does the union spend my money”

SEIU 1021

You will find this page:

Click to access 205893698_201712_990O.pdf

this is the 2017 Form 990 – Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax – oh yeah, unions are exempt from income tax. 

Scroll down to page 10 – you see the salaries paid out by this organization. You see how little they actually spend on member services – the members who receive the services are the union employees. These people are not elected by their co-workers, they are hired by the union, and paid out of the dues collected from people who actually work for a living. 

Well, some of them, anyway. 

This is why Jim Parrott of Chico Police Officers Association has signed the Argument in Favor of Measure A, the parcel tax that Chico Area Recreation District has placed on the March 2020 ballot. He’d probably tell you it’s because he’s been involved in the Chico Area Swim Association, an affiliate of CARD, but we know the real reason.  These union members network to make sure the pensions are paid. Of course he will also endorse the city of Chico’s upcoming sales tax increase for the same reason.

Don’t drink the Kool Aid. No matter what they tell you about services, the biggest service agencies like CARD provide is to their union member employees. 

Dan Walters documents a history of promises broken by state legislators – the same applies to our local legislators

14 Jan

As we watch “the homeless” overwhelm our parks and public areas, and Chico PD arrests more and more transients for burglary and assault,  the Chico city council is actually thinking about rescinding the “sit-and-lie” ordinance soon. I watched a video of county supervisor candidate Sue Hilderbrand claiming that transients should be allowed to do anything in public places that the rest of us do in our homes. The state is considering forcing the mentally ill into treatment. Gavin Newsom wants to penalize cities that are not, in his opinion, doing enough to house the homeless.

Meanwhile, according to Dan Walters,

https://www.marinij.com/2020/01/05/dan-walters-promises-made-but-not-kept-in-push-to-fund-criminal-rehab-programs/

billions of dollars meant to reduce repeat criminal activity by improving local jails and probation services were siphoned off for other purposes.”

You know what other purposes – “the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) was pressuring local governments to contribute more money to offset the system’s investment losses during the Great Recession, and to pay for pension benefit increases.”

Walters reports that CalMatters published a similar article about the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which was meant “to depopulate the state’s mental hospitals, curb involuntary commitments and divert the mentally ill into local treatment programs. 

“However, the promises of the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short act to create a network of easily accessible local mental health services were never kept. The money that had been saved from closing mental hospitals was swallowed up in state budgets approved by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan and his successors from both parties.”

And those promises continue to be ignored, you can look at the Butte County Behavioral Department website for yourself:

https://www.buttecounty.net/behavioralhealth/

For one department – one department in a county of less than 300,000 people – with nearly a $100 million budget, I’m not impressed. I don’t see any directory of mental health professionals. I do see a number you can call if you’re experiencing a crisis, but I don’t see any programs – like AA – that can help a person avoid crisis. And while they’ve promised a “street crisis team,” I have yet to see county workers walking the parks or other public areas in Chico to counsel anybody toward getting off the street.

Look here – you can see where the Behavioral Health Budget goes.

https://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Counties/County.aspx?entityid=4&year=2014

You see the highest paid employee in Butte County, with a salary of almost $290,000/year and a benefits package of almost $50,000, is the Behavioral Health Director. Two BCBH employees make over $200,000/year, just in salary. If you search “Behavioral Health”, you find 66 pages of salaries – including the lower paid interns and “extra help” who actually work with the patients.

The funding they “saved” by not providing hospitalization for people in mental crisis has gone to management salaries, benefits, and, the county pension deficit.

Like Walters says, “We should keep the 1967 mental health law, the Local Control Funding Formula and realignment in mind the next time the state’s politicians tell us they are enacting a transformative solution to a pressing problem.” And, the next time our city or county leaders tell us they need more revenue to solve a problem, we should say NO! and vote them all out of office.

Letter: Your tax hike went to raises, pensions

1 Jan

I saw in my stats that somebody read this old post – and I realized, it was worth a re-run. 

In 2012, Chico voters rejected Measure J, the cell phone tax proposed by council member and former mayor Ann Schwab. I didn’t take a poll, but something I heard from people when I spoke to them about it was outrage – “what does the city of Chico have to do with my cell phone service?”

Good question. Answer: NOTHING, it was just an outright grab into your wallets.  I hope people are still asking good questions, because what Joseph Neff is saying here, in a 6 year old letter, is still true. The majority of our budget goes toward salaries, benefits, and now, the employees’ pension liability.

http://www.chico.ca.us/finance/documents/2019-20CityAnnualFINALBudget.pdf

Below Joseph Neff reminds us, even well paid private sector positions do not usually include pension, but we are all forced to pay outrageous benefits to public employees.  And he offers a solution – I bold-faced the last paragraph, cut it out and send it to Chico City Council, and then you might want to send a copy to your county supervisor. 

This letter still stands, so I’m running it again. Thank you Joseph Neff, wherever you are.

Letter: Your tax hike went to raises, pensions

Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   12/06/2013 10:41:12 PM PST

Conservative voters realized that Gov. Jerry Brown’s sales tax increases would not be used to benefit taxpayers but to provide lawmakers a raise and to protect the golden pensions of public employees.

As a 45-year career employee with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering and an MBA, my two private-sector pensions are $15,000 yearly. Only two of six career employers had pensions during the past 50 years of plant closures from union strikes, global competition and company moves to right to work, more business friendly states.

None of my wife’s 30-year employers, including 11 as a teacher and 20 as either a degreed hospital medical records administrator, or as an advanced degreed nuclear medicine technologist supervisor, had pensions. Only one had a 401(k) plan. That is typical of the private sector for degreed private sector employees since the 1950s.

Public employee pensions should be halved to civilian levels, delayed to age 65, never adjusted for inflation, and based only on the first $50,000 of pre-retirement income. A $25,000 maximum annual public employee pension would be fair since savings and Social Security will provide the needed additional two-thirds of retirement spending.

— Joseph J. Neff, Corning

Camp Fire a year later – quite a turnaround from gloom and doom to prosperity for City of Chico

26 Dec

Remember claims made by City of Chico staff that Camp Fire evacuees were causing financial problems? Here’s a story from as late as May –  6 months after the fire – claiming that the evacuees were still overwhelming city services. 

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2019/05/10/state-population-estimates-based-on-new-housing-contruction-not-occupation-but-mark-orme-still-claims-he-has-hard-numbers-on-camp-fire-evacuation/

“Last week, the state Department of Finance released the figures, with Chico having grown by 20.7 percent as of Jan. 1, 2019. The population as of the new year was 112,111, according to the state, up by an estimated 19,250 people from a year earlier.”

As you should know by now, city of Chico is planning to put a sales tax increase on the November 2020 ballot. Like CARD, which has put a parcel tax titled “Measure A” on the March ballot, the city of Chico cannot openly campaign for their sales tax after it has been assigned a ballot title. So, like CARD, the city of Chico must do their campaigning now, with the help of the local fishwrap known as the Enterprise Record.

The ER went willingly along with city management, printing article after article about this imagined population boom. I said it then and I’ll say it now – where the hell are they? We just went through Christmas – why weren’t the roads around the mall shut down with all these displaced people? I drive in rush hour traffic almost every day – where are the commuters? Where the heck are all these new people? 

Of course, the evacuees left their mark alright – “The city saw $2.5 million more in sales tax revenue than they had budgeted for, Dowell said, and approximately $700,000 more in transient occupancy tax fees.”

Not to mention, “ approximately $500,000 in fire and police department costs have been reimbursed — as well as $3 million from the state government in recovery funds”

 But if seeing isn’t believing, here’s the data that tells us the lion’s share of the evacuees have gone.   “‘Those two [ sales and occupancy tax]  relate to what we can tell is a boost,’ [city finance director Scott]  Dowell said, ‘but we’ve actually seen those — particularly the occupancy tax — dip.’”

Furthermore, read Steve Schoonover’s article posted below –  Butte County Population Dips More Than 10,000 – quoting the same agency (Dept. of Finance) that “estimated” the population BOOM after the fire, Schoonover reports, “The latest report, from 2018 to 2019, Showed Butte’s population dipping from 227,353 to 216,965. That’s a loss of 10,388 people, or 4.57 percent of the population.”

Now think folks – you’ve heard about the upcoming US Census 2020. Remember US Census 2010?  The federal government does it’s best to actually COUNT people. What a concept. I remember the census worker who hounded us about our neighbors. I read stories in various news sources about census workers hounding people literally to death. Now THINK – have you seen or heard from any Census Workers since 2010?  No, they’re still looking for workers, the census doesn’t begin until 2020.   So where does the Dept. of Finance get these numbers? Read this, from the actual Dept. of Finance news release:

“Changes to the housing stock are used in the preparation of the annual city population estimates. Estimated occupancy of housing units and the number of persons per household further determine population levels. Changes in city housing stock result from new construction, demolitions, housing unit conversions, and annexations. The sub-county population estimates are then adjusted to be consistent with independently produced county estimates.”

I didn’t have to count. I saw what happened to Chico in the weeks directly after the fire and I watched as people fled the area over the following months. I personally know people who never even went  back to look at their burnt out lot, and I can’t say I blame them. They spent a month or two in Chico gathering their wits, and then they were scattered to the wind. As is reported in Schoonover’s article below.

Now the city of Chico admits they actually made profit off the fire. But you know they are still planning to put a sales tax increase on the November ballot. In fact, Scott Dowell mentions another one of his dog-and-pony budget presentations coming up in March.  “Dowell said his staff will start to work on budget items for the 2020-2021 budget when they get back from the holidays in January. Additionally, the city will host a public meeting to learn the ins and outs of the new budget on March 12.”

Uh-huh. That ought to be interesting. 

I cut and paste the articles into the blog because I know a lot of you don’t have a subscription to the Enterprise Record and may not be able to see this stuff. Which ought to be illegal, because the ER is very obviously running a propaganda blitz for the city, not to mention CARD. 

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

CHICO — Financially, the Camp Fire hit the city of Chico hard in 2019, despite never physically crossing into the city’s territory. Despite that, the budget is actually doing OK, said Scott Dowell, Chico’s administrative services director.

The city of Chico did not make any substantial changes to the budget following the Camp Fire, and approximately $500,000 in fire and police department costs have been reimbursed — as well as $3 million from the state government in recovery funds, Dowell said.

Of course, “we’re still processing, we’re still living it,” Dowell said, of the aftereffects of the Camp Fire.

Because the city’s fiscal year runs from July to June, the most recent numbers available are from June 30, Dowell said. But those numbers show Chico with a significant surplus: More than $20 million.

That’s a big turnaround from 2013’s budget, when the city was facing bankruptcy.

Two of the biggest factors for that surplus are directly related to the Camp Fire: Sales tax and hotel tax, also known as the transient occupancy tax.

The city saw $2.5 million more in sales tax revenue than they had budgeted for, Dowell said, and approximately $700,000 more in transient occupancy tax fees.

“Those two relate to what we can tell is a boost,” Dowell said, “but we’ve actually seen those — particularly the occupancy tax — dip.”

A lot of that surplus hasn’t been designated to a use by council yet, but of the $3 million given by the state, half went toward new communications technology that will help the Chico police and fire departments better deal with emergencies in the long-term. The city has also considered putting in a new intelligent traffic system, which would replace the current technology that has been in use, in some cases, since the 1960s.

Dowell said his staff will start to work on budget items for the 2020-2021 budget when they get back from the holidays in January. Additionally, the city will host a public meeting to learn the ins and outs of the new budget on March 12.

“We’re doing far better than we were 6 years ago, but we have a ways to go,” he said.

 
 Butte County Population Dips More Than 10,000

Butte County lost more than 10,000 residents due to the Camp Fire, according to estimates released last week by the state.

That was according to an annual report by the Department of Finance that calculates county populations from July 1 of one year to July 1 of the next.

The latest report, from 2018 to 2019, Showed Butte’s population dipping from 227,353 to 216,965. That’s a loss of 10,388 people, or 4.57 percent of the population.

Part of the loss — 142 — came because that many more people died than were born in the county.

But the state estimates 10,411 residents left Butte County for elsewhere in the United States. It attributes the change to the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018, that killed 85 people, and also destroyed 6.5 percent of the housing supply in the county.

The outward flow was partially offset by 165 people immigrating here from other countries.

The population loss by numbers and percentage was the highest of the 58 counties in the state.

Conversely, the counties surrounding Butte had inflated growth rates, all far above the state average of 0.35 percent.

Sutter was the fastest growing county in the state by percentage, adding 2,243 people, or 2.21 percent. Most of that — 1,364 people — consisted of people moving in from elsewhere in the United States, most of them likely from Butte County.

Glenn County was No. 3 by percentage, adding 442 people, or 1.54 percent. The state estimated 365 of those people were “domestic migrants,” a category that would include those displaced by the fire.

By comparison, between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, Glenn grew 0.48 percent.

Tehama County grew by 1.12 percent, adding 725 people. Yuba County also grew 1.12 percent, adding 866 people. Colusa grew 1.00 percent, with 223 new residents.

Even Plumas County, which has been losing population since 2016, was in the plus column this past year. It added 156 people, a 0.83 percent growth rate.

As a state, California added 141,300 between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2019, for a total of 39,959,095, one of the lowest growth rates since 1900, according to a Department of Finance press release.

More people left the state for elsewhere in the United States than migrated here, with 197,594 moving out. However births outpaced deaths by 180,786, and 158,118 people immigrated to the state from other nations.

Butte County population dips by more than 10,000

Parks not pensions

18 Dec

Busy little bees. 

Chico Area Recreation District has submitted Measure A, a parcel tax. Measure A will add an initial CORRECTION: $85 a year to your property taxes, increasing each year with inflation. I had to look up the rate of inflation – right now it’s 1.8%, up from 1.7% last year, and expected to go to 1.9% in 2020. 

This is what my dad called “rabbit math.” Not only does the “base” ($85) go up every year, but the percentage by which the base goes up goes up every year. Next thing you know you got a basket of rabbits on your prop tax bill,  eating your money like lettuce.

I was in 4-H as a kid, I had rabbits, so I get it. This is actually worse than rabbit math – momma rabbit can only have so many babies at a time. It’s the number of momma rabbits that makes for the increase – that would be the initial value, going up incrementally. But this tax will not only add momma rabbits every year, it will increase the number of babies momma rabbit is able to have – the percentage of increase goes up every year.

I hear a voice in the back of my head – “evil never sleeps...”

I don’t hate taxes – taxes are how we all share the cost of stuff we need as a community. We need roads. God in Heaven we need sewer. We need cops and fire. And, given the amount of money we pay into the pot, we sure as hell deserve  better parks. 

We don’t need over-priced bureaucrats who give themselves raises and raid road, sewer and park funds to feather their retirement nest. 

Repeat after me – No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice... meaning, “pay your own pensions or forfeit.” There it is. Learn it. Know it. Live it.