Tag Archives: sales tax increase

Chico Taxpayer’s Association off-schedule meeting this Sunday, October 13, 9am.

11 Oct

Chico Taxpayers Association will be meeting this Sunday, off schedule, because last Sunday’s regular meeting had to be postponed. 

We’ll continue our conversation about the city employee contracts, which are now up for discussion, in closed session, between Chico City Council, their consultant, and $taff.  I am hoping to get people to write letters to council asking that they hold the line and ask employees to pay their own benefits. I’ve asked Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan to offer to pay 9 percent of employee benefits and ask employees to pay the rest, but I haven’t had any answer from them.  I fully expect them to roll over for the cops like my dog when he wants a belly scratching. 

We can also yak up the latest efforts to raise local taxes – CARD and some guy named Matt Olson. I invited Olson to come to our meeting to discuss his plans but he refused. I think it’s because, he doesn’t have a plan, but we might want to keep an eye on him.  Same for CARD – although the group I saw was pretty lame, there were a few individuals at that CARD meeting that seemed pretty determined. 

So, I will be picking up the library key today, and I hope to see you down there at 9am Sunday.  

Scranton, Pennsylvania cuts workers to minimum wage – only $130,000 in their cash reserves

12 Jul

I finally got a chance to watch the video of last Tuesday’s council meeting. It cut on me during the meeting, just after Walker and Goloff were mopping up their attack on Sorensen, and I didn’t get it back til yesterday. I have watched the video in bits and snatches.  I made it to the noise ordinance conversation last night, but had to turn it off after Jessica Allen and a couple of her friends got up to demand their rights to be bad neighbors. 

One thing I learned is that the city of Chico has less than $200,000 in the reserve fund. No, I did not forget a zero on that figure, that’s it – less than $200,000. Read it and weep – and then call them to ask what they did with that property tax check you just sent in. 

You can look at the budget report here:  http://www.chico.ca.us/finance/budget.asp

You see the millions the city takes in, in sales tax (over $17 million) property tax (over $11 million), even taxes on your PG&E, phone and water (almost $7 million), and your visitors’ motel rooms (over $2 million). To me that seems petty – “bed tax”?   Some people think it’s a good idea to shake down the visitors of your town, as if  it’s not enough that they spend money on your motels, restaurants and shopping centers.  It’s a common grab all over California, every city does it.  A lot of distasteful things become “common” when no decent person stands up to say “enough is enough.” 

In Chico, as has been oft repeated, over 80 percent of our budget is in salaries and benefits. That’s the elephant in the room, and everybody’s getting pretty hip deep in elephant shit around here.  It’s a simple concept, no matter how convoluted $taff and council try to make it: if they spend all the money on salaries, benefits, and the Great Pension Stock Market Disaster, there’s no money left to pay for supplies to say,  clean up leaks in the sewer and water lines that are causing the state to fine us by the day, widen the roads that we are required to widen because of the permitting of Meriam Park, etc. And you can just get used to those pot holes in the street out front of your house.  Got bad neighbors? Get a lawyer.

What’s really frustrating are the reactions of the cops and fire – they act like they don’t get paid at all. Those guys take most of the 80 percent. They get overtime written into their schedules. According to Hennessy, both fire and the cops are over budget on their workman’s comp claims for at least the third year in a row. The city just slammed another cop contract past us without public review, and signed the new chief’s contract three days before it was made available to the public, and then only by request and a direct visit to the clerk’s office Downtown. 

So, we will get another year of poor response times, bitching and moaning from cops and fire. Get ready for your homeowners and your car insurance to go up – the insurance companies know when your local police and fire departments are a pile of shit. 

And don’t think I’m not wondering about all those suspicious house fires. 

 You can just forget about any of the services a city is supposed to offer.  Try to get something out of the city clerk these days – if you can catch her in the office! 

Well, here’s the story of Scranton, Pennsylvania – home of Michael Scott! 

http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/10/12659748-scranton-pa-slashes-workers-pay-to-minimum-wage?lite

The mayor of Scranton, when faced with a situation similar to Chico’s mess, did what needed to be done. Unfortunately, he waited until it was too late to do something rational. I’m afraid it’s come to that with our city council – if you think that scene between Goloff and Sorensen was rational, well, you deserve to live here. 

Sleep with your hand on your wallet/purse strap

25 May

I would certainly like to think we just landed a house on a witch, but I got another think coming.

“Self-imposed Chico tax supporters take a break”

Well, I’ll tell you right away, I got a problem with that headline. Lando and friends were not imposing a tax just on themselves, they were imposing a tax on all the rest of us as well. What’s with the ER, always trying to make this thing look so magnificent – those magnificent tax paying bastards!  They’re so community spirited!  Anybody who doesn’t want to pay this tax is just, well, NOT community spirited! Damn us!

Now, please note, Lando, who sent this article to Urseny as a press release – that’s some news reporting!  – Mr. Lando uses the word “hiatus”. That means, he isn’t quitting, he’s just taking a “break, or a pause, in a sequence, series or process…”

“We think it’s best to wait for another round of elections,” he says. Well, duh!

He can’t float this turd in the same pond in which his colleague Bob Evans must make his swim for re-election. I am afraid Evans might support this tax if he thought he could get away with it. Mr. Evans told me early on that he would not agendize a discussion of this tax because there was, as far as he saw it, nothing to discuss. He said he hadn’t seen any proposal and therefore didn’t want to talk about it. But come to find out, he’s been meeting with Lando over at the Chamber of Commerce, where both are longtime members, and the topic on the agenda has been the sales tax increase. So, Evans has heard something, and I’m afraid he’s not being completely honest about what he knows or what he intends.

I certainly don’t trust Ann Schwab. She’ll play it safe for now, sure. She’s already busted a bottle of bubbly on that leaky phone tax vessel – a sales tax increase would sink her battleship, and she knows it. When I asked her if she’d put this stinker on the ballot, she referred to Lando’s early proposal for a ballpark, and indicated she wouldn’t support a sales tax “for a ballpark,” that’s all she’d say. She wouldn’t say, “I won’t support a sales tax increase,” she qualified herself – she won’t support a ball park.  She just wants to distance herself from this thing until she can get her butt back in that chair, and then you’re going to see the biggest turn-around since George H. W. Bush told you to read his lips.

I fear either of these two would support a special election for November 2013, when they could put this sales tax increase measure on the ballot with a 5-2 majority, without any immediate retribution from the voters. Ah, how the voters forget!

Well, I’m a vindictive bitch, I never forget.  What I’d like to hear from Evans before I can support him in November is that he will not vote to put a sales tax increase on the ballot without the required number of signatures on a legal petition.

I’d want a petition because I want to know that a sufficient number of voters support an election. As we were told when we presented the legally required signatures for Measure A, a special election is expensive, and there’s absolutely no basis at this time on which to justify that kind of expenditure – I remember hearing estimates as high as $120,000.  They made the Measure A proponents spend over $50,000 gathering signatures, I will feel completely had if they do not require signatures of Lando and his friends.
This issue is not going away, in fact, I don’t think they will even slow down. They have a lot of money to raise to run their campaign, and lots of lies to spread to try to get it passed. We have to keep our ear to the ground, and be ready to pick up after the phone tax fight and go at it again.
Here in Chico, you must sleep with your hand on your wallet/purse strap.

Phone tax a GO, sales tax increase in the works – let’s talk about it tomorrow (May 6), Chico library, 11:30am

5 May

Tomorrow we will be discussing both the phone tax that council has already added to the November ballot and the sales tax increase that is slithering in that direction.

We realize 11:30 is not good for everybody, so we’ll also be discussing holding meetings at different times, and more often. We have a list of well-informed guest speakers we’re hoping to coax in as well.

I think we’re okay in our location, don’t you? The library is a great place for public meetings. It’s free, for one thing. And it’s fairly well placed, nearly in the middle of the incorporated  Chico area, easy bicycle OR car access, close to the freeway, and plenty of parking.  Plenty of seating too. So, I think we’ll leave it at the library, but try to have more meetings at various times to accommodate everybody.

Hope to see folks tomorrow, 11:30!

Lando still working on sales tax increase, behind closed doors with Council members and $taff

4 May

Thank you Toby Shindelbeck for attending the Legislative Action Committee meetings which are NOT LISTED ON THE AGENDAS PAGE of the city website.

CORRECTIONmy apologies – I found out, this is NOT a committee of the city but of the Chico Chamber, of which Lando is a member and past president.

I have been remiss – I knew about these meetings, but I have not attended. What I didn’t know, is this is where Tom Lando is plotting and planning with Council members and city staff to get that sales tax increase on the city ballot.

They (Lando and friends)  have until the first council meeting in July to come up with a proposal for Council, and it looks like they are  planning to do so.

If we have to mount an opposing campaign, we are ready to open our checkbooks.

The closure of Station 5 should have tipped me off – they are tying public safety to the train tracks to threaten us into passing both the phone tax and the sales tax.

We have a meeting Sunday at the library, 11:30.  I hope some folks will show up,  ready to work.

Taxing matters

9 Apr

I want to keep reminding everybody – it’s almost time to apply for your Utility Tax rebate.  You will need your bills – PG&E and Cal Water. They also want to see a copy of the first page of your tax returns – I always black out the ssn’s.  The forms should be available by the end of this month on the city website.  If you have any questions, direct them to the following city of Chico e-mail address:

ltheisse@ci.chico.ca.us

or call 879-7300.

I’m not sure about the amounts, but I think a family of four is in at just over $40,000 a year, and so on. I have not seen the requirements lately, because they don’t post this stuff on the city website until the last minute, and as soon as the  deadline comes around, they take it off. I think they should have to post this information all year round, but let’s face it – they don’t want you to know about it. They want to keep YOUR money to pay THEIR salaries. Be sure to tell them, you think this info should be on that website 365 days a year – why isn’t it?

$taff wants your money. They  have already got council to approve an initiative on the November ballot that will re-institute a five percent tax on  your cell phone, and add a five percent tax to your home phone. Show them now what you think of this grab.

I’m hoping for a happy little posse to go down to the city building with me – remember what Arlo Guthrie said at the end of Alice’s Restaurant? Well, I won’t quote, because it would get me another round of “homophobe!” from my creepy peanut gallery. The gist of it was, it’s better to confront the establishment as a group than just one lone harpy. So, let’s get our little mob up and go down there – the excitement might loosen my purse strings, and I might be up to buying the first round at Shuberts! Wooo-woo!

Let’s yak it up some more this weekend at the Tea Party Tax Day Rally – set up for Sunday, April 15, at City Plaza. Again, Wooo-woo!

Many thanks to Assemblyman Jim Nielsen for speaking to the Chico Taxpayers Association

3 Apr

I’d like to thank Jim Nielsen for taking his Sunday morning to come to Chico and talk to a group of concerned citizens at the library. Mr. Nielsen took our little group seriously, because we’re fighting the good fight. Thanks to everyone who showed up to listen.

We are showing Tom Lando, not to mention other chickenshits who are hiding behind Lando, that there is no support for raising local sales tax outside of their little clique.  Lando apparently has the support of  certain council members on this –  Lori Barker plopped out a paragraph about how taxes get on the ballot – but she didn’t mention ANYTHING about getting signatures on a petition.  So, I’m guessing, if Lando comes forth with an initiative, council would put it on the ballot with a 5 -2 majority.  I bet you can guess who the five would be, and I’m guessing there might even be a 6!

I’d say the only people who would support this idea are the public salary/pension takers and their hangers on.  At last count, we still got them outnumbered, but for how long, nobody knows. This might be the effort that turns that tide, Folks, let’s keep our shoulders to the wheel.

Let’s not forget, they’ve already decided to put the phone tax on the ballot, without a squeak from the public. There’s a tax that will effect everybody – not only would they re-institute the cell phone tax that was rescinded a couple of years ago, they’d add a tax on your land line!

In past it added up to about $4 on my family’s cell phone bill – might sound like chump change to somebody who skims $100,000+ a year off the public, but it’s a gallon of milk or a couple of packs of eggs as far as I’m concerned.  And, mercy, what $4 would buy at Shuberts!

The phone tax is already on the ballot, we have to start making noise about it. We have to remind people, they’d be better off giving the same amount of money to their local school or charity fund.

Giving more money to the city of Chico is like letting out a pair of pants to accommodate obesity.

Now don’t forget – it’s almost time to get your Utility Tax Rebate. If anybody wants to organize a little party to go down there together, I’d be all over that. Let’s start talking about it now.

You realize, they sometimes pay cash, and Shuberts is like two blocks away. I’m getting chocolate covered raisins, maybe some orange sticks…

Jim Nielsen will speak to Chico Taxpayer’s Association, Sunday, April 1, 11:30 am

25 Mar

Memories of summer - I made this minestrone  with tomato sauce from last year's garden.

We are lucky to have good friends – our friend Mark is one of the bestest. Every year he gets us a ginormous corned beef brisquet from the locker, and we eat it for a week, in one form or another. My favorite way to finish it off is to use the broth to make a nice pot of minestrone.

I used my own tomato sauce, from last year’s garden. My husband plants a lot of tomatoes because you never know what might happen. They kicked in late last summer, because of that late rain – we didn’t get a ripe tomato til August! And then they came in, Hellbent for Glory. My little freezer was solid packed by the end of September.  I still have about half a dozen pints of sauce in there, stowed away with all my Meyer’s lemon juice and some big-ass chickens bought on sale at Safeway.

Nothing makes a good pot of soup like some good bread – this time I made it into stix, my kids loved them. I might make some more today.

I buttered them when they were still hot and rolled them in a little pile of big salt and garlic powder. Next time I might use real garlic – I’ve heard, if you eat enough garlic, it keeps the tax vampires away. I know, that’s probably just some old wives’ tale.

What you really need to do to keep the tax vampires at bay is organize early and get a good plan. So, next Sunday, Casey has got a promise from Jim Nielsen, Second Assembly District representative, to come to the library and give us some strategies for fighting tax increases.

Jim  Nielsen shares our area with Dan Logue. Their districts meet up at Hwy 99, splitting off some of West and South Chico, with Nielsen skirting the edges and Logue taking the lion’s share of our town.  Nielsen has been in one California legislative office or another, on and off, for over 25 years. I don’t know how you feel about him politically, but I’d say, he has some experience to share and some  things to tell us about the system, how it works, and how to go about putting down Tom Lando’s plan to increase our sales tax by 3/4 of a cent, in it’s tracks.

Unfortunately, I have a previous committment, a Mom Thing, and nothing gets in front of the Mom Thing. So, I am counting on folks to come out and greet Mr. Nielsen and show him a good time, listen to what he has to say and give me the skinny when I get home.

Remember, keep the questions and the conversation on topic – what strategies can Nielsen offer to stop this tax increase? Has he ever participated in a local tax increase battle? Does he know of any instances where citizens have successfully overturned an effort like this? How?

I’d like to invite Dan Logue and other legislators and local elected officials  to speak to us as well, so let’s be nice to Nielsen, give him the old “Y’ll come back now, y’hear!” treatment.

That’s next Sunday, April 1 (yeah, I know!), at 11:30 am, at the Chico Branch of the Butte County Library, at the corner of First and Sherman Avenues.

Drawing a line on the editorials page

14 Mar

Below is Chico Taxpayer Association board member Casey Aplanalp’s letter to the Enterprise Record, run in this morning’s paper. 

If you haven’t seen the survey he mentions, look here:

https://chicotaxpayers.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/lando-releases-survey/

The survey isn’t just leading, and it isn’t just misleading, it’s downright dishonest, insinuating that certain people and groups support the tax without asking these folks for their permission – including Larry Wahl and the Bidwell Presbyterian Church, both of whom contacted me/this blog. 

Lando will use the dishonest survey results to write his tax increase measure for the council, and I’m afraid certain members of council will try to say that’s enough to put the measure on the ballot. We have to write letters to council – write more than one letter if you feel the need –  telling them we want a petition with the legal number of signatures. We should let both Ann Schwab and Bob Evans know that if they put this measure on the ballot without the signatures, they’re going down in flames in November. 

I believe my question regarding how a tax increase measure gets on the ballot, along with a general report regarding the upcoming tax increase proposals (that’s proposals, plural…) headed for the upcoming ballot is agendized for the first meeting in April, but you’ll have to wait for confirmation from the city clerk. I’ll keep you posted. 

In the meantime, read this letter from Casey and try to search for inspiration to write your own:

We need to know more about the sales tax hike proposed by Tom Lando and Jim Stevens. This needs to see the light of day.

I have a copy of the script the survey company is using, and it’s as crooked as a rubber cane. Biased and leading. Results should be scrutinized and dismissed upon presentation.

I’ve sent Lando an invitation to present and explain his proposition publicly, which has been ignored. What is he hiding? The Chico Taxpayers Association, Butte Taxpayers Alliance, Chico Tea Party, Butte Republican Party, Butte Libertarian
Party, Young Americans for Liberty, and the local Ron Paul Support team are all opposed to this sales tax hike proposed by Lando.

Where’s the tax hike support? And where’s the coverage?

 Casey Aplanalp, Chico

Get ready to make turnip juice! Or get ready to fight.

10 Mar

I bet you are as happy as I am to hear that the Butte Taxpayers Alliance has voiced their opposition to both the proposed sales tax increase and the phone tax coming before the city of Chico. We need to network to get the word out, and Jack Lee and friends are working hard to do just that:

http://www.norcalblogs.com/post_scripts/2012/03/bta-will-oppose-new-taxes.html

These folks are doing serious work, reviewing the city budget, going to committee meetings, asking the questions that need to be asked, and getting the answers out to the public. Their website:

http://www.buttetaxpayers.org/

I’m sorry, I attended neither the Finance Committee Meeting nor the Economic Development Committee meetings this past week. I didn’t even attend any Sustainability Task Force meetings lately. Sometimes I need to stay away from the bullshit factory, it starts to be a drain.

But, I don’t think I need to go to committee meetings to know the city is planning to sucker us out of almost $12,000,000 a year in additional taxes, and I’m not going to just stand here and take it. This council has ruined the housing market, lost large manufacturers and chased others away, and now they will ruin the retail sector? We can’t have that. Tell your friends, get ready, we’re all about to be squeezed. If you aren’t a turnip, you better say something.