Tag Archives: tax increase

Measure J – That’s Ann Schwab sliding her hand into your purse.

23 Aug

The other night the Chico City Council signed a new city manager at $217,000 a year, plus benefits. That’s an increase of about 14 percent over retiring city manager Dave Burkland’s salary. Meanwhile, the median American income, according to the census bureau, has fallen by 7 percent. In Chico, the 2010 figure for median income was about $38,000. Seven percent would be a hit of over $2500. OUCH!

I wonder if the researchers took into account those families whose incomes have remained fairly steady, while expenses like utilities and taxes have grown unrepentantly. You’ve probably received the same notices I have got from PG&E and Cal Water – they seem to raise rates at will these days. You probably read Cal Water’s notice that we weren’t using enough water so they had to raise rates to recoup money they spent when they thought we were going to use a lot of water. But,  talking out both sides of their mouth, they raise the rate per ccf tremendously when we use over a certain amount of water – to encourage us to conserve water! What kind of circular bullshit is that?

The same circular bullshit you get from the city of Chico, that’s what.  For several years now we have heard one report after another about our dismal financial situation. We had to close a fire station for a month.  We can’t keep enough cops on the street to serve a citation for a second noise complaint. We don’t have enough money to fix our streets. We don’t have enough money to properly maintain Bidwell Park.  But without missing a beat, they tell us they are increasing their own salaries.  They are signing a contract with Chico PD that gives them a raise, along with structured overtime and pays the “employees’ share” of their benefits and pension premiums. And now they hire a guy at $217,000  a year, plus the benefits and pension payments, whose successor in Hemet is only making $162,000 a year.

http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/hemet/hemet-headlines-index/20120821-hemet-council-selects-orme-as-interim-city-manager.ece

And they propose to cover these asinine appropriations by raising our taxes. That is the intention behind the phone tax –  measure J – already placed on this November’s ballot, as well as the motivation behind Tom Lando’s coming sales tax increase proposal – watch for that in a special election in 2013.

Measure J is our immediate problem. It is billed by it’s sponsors, including Mayor Ann Schwab, as a tax reduction.  Sure, they will lower the existing land line tax from 5 percent to 4.5. But this measure will allow them to extend the tax to cell phones, pagers, and forms of electronic communication that have not even been introduced to the consumer yet.   This measure will allow the city Finance Director to add any future form of electronic communication that is included in your phone bill to the tax base without consulting the voters. You will simply see the increase on your phone bill.

Remember when the only people who had cell phones, or “mobile phones,” were guys like Elvis Presley? Yeah, a cell phone used to be for rich people only, a status symbol even. Well, try living without one today.  Land lines are pretty unreliable – unless you live within a few blocks of the router over in college town, you get hit and miss service, at best. When we had AT&T, we’d be without either phone or internet service for days at a time.  We felt forced to switch to cell phones. When my son was looking for a job, they expected him to have his own cell phone, mom or dad’s number was a real turn-off to employers.  So, yes, in this day and age, not having a cell phone has become akin to not having a car – what’s wrong with you?

This cell phone tax is a matter of TAKING, by people who just expect to TAKE. The city does nothing to guarantee or improve or even cheapen the cost of your cell phone service. They’ve actually refused to permit cell phone towers on occasion, citing “aesthetics.” But they expect to add a 4.5 percent TAX to a service you contract with a commercial provider?

We need to get the word out on this TAKING. Ann Schwab and her friends are billing it as a TAX DECREASE! You know better, and you need to tell your friends, your co-workers, and people with whom you do business – you need to start telling everybody you know who lives in the city of Chico, that they are about to be had.

I’m starting with my close friends, and then I’m going to mail letters to people like my dentist, my auto shops, my vet, etc. You would be surprised how many people don’t know what this phone tax is all about. People who don’t have time to educate themselves often depend on their friends to give them the heads-up. Be a good friend, tell everybody you know about this tax.

That’s Measure J, Ann Schwab’s plan to stick her little pig nose into your phone bill.  Bad Pig! Time to give her a sharp rap across the snout – No on J!

Beat the Heat! Chico Taxpayers Association will meet at 9am next Sunday, Chico library

27 May

Next week we’ve moved our June 3 Chico Taxpayers Assoc. meeting to 9am.  I’ve asked Mark Sorensen to come in and give us his take on the phone tax and some other items before council. He asked that we get together a little earlier, so I notified the library and we have the room from 9 – 10.  

We want to get our facts straight regarding the phone tax so we can start writing letters. I want to remind everybody, it’s good to write to the council and the newspapers, but you might also be telling everybody you know who lives within the city limits. 

How do your friends react when y0u try to talk politics? I know, some of you might only have politically minded friends who stay well-informed. That isn’t always the case. A lot of our friends are busy in their lives, with their jobs, their kids, etc.  “The Real World,” where, if you don’t mind your business, your life ends up in a ditch.  Whenever I bring these “political”  issues up in the groups I swing with, I get almost exactly the same angry response every time: “When am I supposed to go to these meetings? I have a ( job/business) all day, and then when I get the chance, I’m at (one of my kids’ various activities).” One weekend I watched a kids’ sports tournament with a couple whose elderly father lay on his deathbed in Chico – they were chatting with him on the cell phone, it was heartbreaking. How do you bring up these issues when people are trying to live their lives? 

But, just recently, the father of one of my kid’s playmates came over to tell me, he reads my blog, and he writes letters to council. This is a man who does a job we all depend on, who has recently been transferred in his job to Oroville when he lives in Chico, and who has two active teenagers. His wife works too. But still they find time to stay on top of the issues. I really appreciate that – it’s like having somebody say, “I got your back Juanita!” 

We must all watch each others’ backs on these tax issues.  I think you can write a letter to the council or the newspaper in less than 30 minutes, or give a friend a simple explanation,  if you know what you want to say. Know the facts, and it’s easy to be prepared in a conversation. Please come in on Sunday and we will be going over the facts on this phone tax – just the facts, Ma’am. We need to keep it sweet and simple, let people know exactly what this tax will do. We have until November to let people know the truth. I  think we can do it. 

Mark will also try to explain to us what’s going on with this missing $255,000 that will be discussed Downtown Tuesday night. I’m not sure, but I think that’s still alot of money to misplace, and I’d like to watch $taff squiggle and scramble to explain this. Mark will try to give us the background. 

That’s Sunday, June 3, 9 – 10 am, Chico library at First and Sherman Avenues. Come on down!