Tag Archives: securitization

Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin lays out his scheme to “shoot (taxpayer) money into the economy at the time the economy is tanking…”

14 May

Just last month Chico City council listened to a consultant’s pitch about placing a revenue measure on the 2020 ballot. They voted to hire the woman, from the same firm that has passed two school bonds, EMC, of Oakland. They also approved a $60,000 budget to run a voter survey and then make a strategy for Staff to use the information gathered to twist sentiment in favor of higher taxes. 

I attended an earlier presentation before the Finance Committee and taped it. I was shocked at the statements made – they talk pretty frank at these morning meetings because they know nobody will show up. I was particularly interested in the presentation made by Chico assistant city manager Chris Constantin. Constantin has hatched the same plot described by Sacramento City mayor Darrell Steinberg – a shells and peas scheme called “securitization.” People need to know about this scam scheme, so I wrote a letter to the Enterprise Record. 

In 2018 57% of Sacramento voters passed Measure U, a half-cent sales tax increase.  Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg had promised voters new revenues would not go to employee pensions, instead toward economic development. However, immediately after the election, Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to place the revenues into the general fund, which pays for  salaries and pensions.

Lesson learned – with a simple majority measure, the voters lose control over how the money is spent.

Promising again to keep the money from going to the pension deficit, Steinberg proposes to “securitize” $25,000,000 of annual Measure U revenue to create a capital equity fund. That fund would finance the sale of bonds, to be repaid by Measure U receipts over a 25-year period. So, half the sales tax revenue would go toward creating more debt.  And the bond money could be spent at council’s indiscretion.

City of Chico staffers have proposed the same “securitization” plan to our council, who plan to put a revenue measure on the 2020 ballot.  Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin has proposed using a sales tax measure to fund bonds. Constantin told the Finance Committee the fund could be used to “shoot money into the economy at the time the economy is tanking…” He would not further explain this scheme to a skeptical committee, but assured Sean Morgan “we’ll contract the type of folks who can do it.”

Subsequently, Council approved up to $60,000 from the general fund to pay a consultant to talk us into this scam. Don’t fall for it.