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Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

Issue Updates & Blog

  • 27 Oct 2015 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    CalPERS officials know they have a serious problem: The nation's largest pension system holds too many risky investments to adequately withstand the next big economic downturn.

    Yet the only proposal under consideration to shore up the system would take decades to properly rebalance CalPERS' portfolio. If the next major recession comes before that, the retirement system will have to sock state and local governments with devastating rate increases at a time when they can least afford it.

    Read more:  http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_28980965/daniel-borenstein:-calpers-protracted-plan-for-reducing-investment-risk-leaves-pension-system-vulnerable

  • 27 Oct 2015 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has twice rolled out statewide pension reform initiatives. Each time, Attorney General Kamala Harris effectively killed the measures before Reed could start collecting signatures to place them on the ballot.

    This time might be different.

    Read more:  http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_28941163/daniel-borenstein:-latest-chuck-reed-pension-initiatives-address-attorney-generals-past-concerns

  • 29 Jul 2015 4:05 PM | Anonymous

    CoCoTax continues to advocate for sustainable public employee compensation, including rational and affordable benefits.  The current massive unfunded pension liability has forced a proposal by state initiative to curb such abuses.  Read more at www.ReformCalifornia.org

  • 13 Oct 2014 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    California regulators have cracked down on hundreds of public officials up and down the state who accepted meals, baseball tickets, brownies and other gifts from a bond-finance company and failed to disclose them.


  • 10 Jun 2014 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to conduct a poll for a countywide half cent sales tax. After the defeat of Measure C, the West Contra Costa Healthcare District nursing staff is urging action for a sales tax to avoid shutdown. Supervisor Piepho and Andersen voiced strong opposition towards the countywide sales tax. The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association questioned the proposed sales tax and what it will fund. Contra Costa County has a combined $3.2 billion unfunded pension liability debt. CoCoTax questioned if it was being used to pay for the pensions. Questions were not answered by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.


    On May 30 and June 5, the nurses held a public town hall meeting in Hercules and Pleasant Hill for public outreach to keep Doctor’s Medical Hospital open with a countywide sales tax. The county cites how Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda counties have a similar half cent sales tax. At the same time, many local Contra Costa cities such as Walnut Creek, Pinole and Richmond are considering Nov. sales tax ballot measures. The figure can be more than 10% for some cities. It is important to note that Contra Costa County will soon have some of the highest sales taxes in the state of California.


    On Tuesday, June 3rd, the board of supervisors authorized $45,000 to conduct a countywide poll for a Nov. 2014 countywide sales tax. It requires the final vote of four supervisors to submit for a countywide sales tax.


    To voice concerns about high sales taxes in Contra Costa County, please contact your supervisor:


    District I: Supervisor John Gioia (Represents Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo)


    E-mail: http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/forms.aspx?fid=120


    District II: Supervisor Candace Andersen (Lamorinda, San Ramon, Danville, portions of Walnut Creek)


    E-mail: candace.andersen@bos.cccounty.us


    District III: Supervisor Mary Piepho (Brentwood, portions of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay)

    Tel: 925-252-4500

    E-mail: Dist3@BOS.CCCounty.us


    District IV: Supervisor Karen Mitchoff (Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, portions of Walnut Creek)


    E-mail: SupervisorMitchoff@bos.cccounty.us


    District V: Supervisor Federal Glover (portions of Pinole/Antioch, Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg, Rodeo)


    E-mail: district5@bos.cccounty.us

  • 28 May 2014 2:34 PM | Anonymous
    On Wednesday. May 21st, the West Contra Costa School District Bond Oversight Committee was upset over the debt waiver application.

    One committee member said he was "mad as hell".
    According to the Contra Costa Times, representatives from KNN Public Finance and other financial advisers said the district plans to ask the state Board of Education to increase its bonding capacity from the legal maximum of 2.5 percent of assessed property values in the district to 5 percent through 2025. Without the increase, the district would not immediately be able to draw money from the new $270 million Measure H on the June ballot, if passed, or from existing construction bond measures as quickly as the district wants.

    The bond oversight committee did not accept the debt waiver application. It created a subcommittee to investigate the debt waiver application.

    To read more on debt waiver application:


    CBS KPIX TV News on May 21st Debt Waiver Application


  • 20 May 2014 3:04 PM | Anonymous

    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Says Rodeo Hercules Fire District Violates Prop 218

     According to Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Rodeo Hercules Fire Protection District violates Prop 218.

    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association authored the 1996 Prop 218(Right to Vote on Taxes Act).

    Prop 218 requires a ballot to be mailed for all assessments and property related fees with the exemption of water, sewer, and garbage rate increases. Street lighting assessments, storm water and urban runoff management assessments, and open space assessment districts are examples where a ballot is required to be mailed to impacted homeowners.

     Ballots are weighted by the size of the property. If approved, the assessment appears on your property tax bill. For water, sewer, and garbage rate increases, a notice is sent out to impacted property owners 30 days before a hearing to approve the increase. Residents protest this increase by showing up or a protest in writing.

     The need for Prop 218 in 1996 grew as municipalities used benefit assessments for general fund purposes. Prior to Prop 218, cities were attempting to pass assessments for police services. Police and fire services are a general benefit that should be paid for via taxes on all residents, not just assessments against homeowners.

    Prop 218 gives taxpayer the right to use the initiative process to reduce or repeal any tax, assessment, fee, or charge. By collecting the signatures of 5% of the number of people in the local district who voted in the last election for governor, one can put any locally imposed levy to a vote.

     In a letter, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says Rodeo Hercules Fire Protection District violates Prop 218. This came on the eve of the Wednesday, May 14th Rodeo Hercules public hearing.

     Contra Costa Times on Benefit Assessment and CoCoTax:


     To read Engineer’s Report that established Prop 218 Benefit Assessment: http://rhfd.org/download_files/RHFD%20ER%2003%2005%202014%20.pdf


  • 01 May 2014 4:30 PM | Anonymous
     As a result of CocoTax’s involvement, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association recently stepped in to question the financing of this massive Delta Tunnels project.

     Businessweek Article on Howard Jarvis Letter that Questions the Financing of Delta Tunnels:
  • 29 Apr 2014 4:31 PM | Anonymous

    The Ventura County Taxpayers Association turned in thousands of petitions to qualify for a a a November 2014 pension reform initiative.

    According to a independent analysis by the Reason Foundation, Ventura County will save $460 million and reduce long term liabilies by $1.8 billion.

    Ventura County has over 900,000 residents while Contra Costa County has 1.09 million residents.



  • 08 Apr 2014 3:35 PM | Anonymous
    CoCoTax has released a video/write up by former Vallejo Councilmember Stephanie Gomes on the March 20th event by the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on pension reform. The pension reform initiative has been postponed for 2014. However, it will be pushed for 2016.

    On a special note, the Ventura County Taxpayers Association is circulating a petition for pension reform in Ventura County.

    Mayor Chuck Reed Video at March 20th Contra Costa Taxpayers Association Luncheon:

    Major Points on Chuck Reed's Pension Reform Initiative:

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