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Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

Issue Updates & Perspectives

  • 02 Aug 2012 4:28 PM | Deleted user

    Just when you think you are taxed to the max, local politicians have another plan.  Many of these items have worthy goals (there are certainly exceptions), but local governments seem to be out of touch with California’s reality.  We have an unemployment/underemployment rate of 20.3%.  That makes us #2 in the nation, behind Nevada. We may be entering a second recession and adding these tax burdens (plus the state’s tax plans) most would say would not be a good thing for the economy.


    Presumably Moraga and Orinda rushed  to get their sales taxes on the books before the Governor’s sales tax passes (if it does).  Pinole with the Utility Users Tax extension proves the old age that nothing is as permanent as a “temporary” tax.  Keep that in mind whenever a governmental entity brags about a “sunset” clause.  If there is no intention of a real sunset then they are just a stepping stone in the path to a permanent tax. In that regard, kudos to Moraga for saying they need their sales tax for 20 years to fix roads, but at the same time the authorization to incur debt to speed up projects………may or may not be a good thing - most people will miss that statement in the measure.


    This is not a complete list, there is at least one bond measure for San Ramon Schools, but this gives everyone a heads up of what will be on the local ballots: Local Measures as of August 1 2012.docx

  • 30 Jul 2012 7:52 AM | Deleted user

    The Fire Protection District Board meets Tuesday to vote on a proposed $75 parcel tax.  However, the decision may have been made a year ago according to the document sent to Vince Wells of IAFF Local 2030 Representative. 

    That document written by County Administrator David Twa (attached 7-28-11 Memo to Vince Wells.pdf) reads: "On behalf of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, it is my understanding that the Board will make its best efforts to place a parcel tax proposal on the ballot prior to December 2012, relative to the Contra Costa Fire Protection District."

  • 25 Jul 2012 3:07 PM | Deleted user
    With both Stockton and now San Bernadino pushing off pension obligation bond debt - how will this impact the market for public bonds?  http://www.pensiontsunami.com/
  • 25 Jul 2012 12:27 PM | Deleted user

    While it is called a soda tax - it is not limited to soda (to anything that has a form of sugar in it) and it is handled as a business licesnse fee RICHMOND BUSINESS LICENSE FEE.pdf  that will be calculated on the amount of sugared beverages sold.  This makes it easier on the seller in that the many items that include sugar will not have to receive a special sku number or tracked individually. It would be a logistics nightmare for the seller.

    From the perspective of the taxpayer - realistically even if you don't buy sugared drinks, the cost will likely be passed on to you rather than the actual purchaser of sugared drinks.  If the objective was to curb consumption of sugary drinks - this is not the way to go.

  • 25 Jul 2012 8:53 AM | Deleted user

    From: Harold Johnson, attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation     www.pacificlegal.org   (916) 419-7111


    To: Taxpayer organizations that joined with PLF in defending Proposition 13


    Re:  WE WON TODAY AT THE SECOND DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL  --- see today’s court ruling attached to this email.


    Dear friends,


    Today, we all can celebrate a great victory in our joint battle to defend Prop. 13.Today – July 24 – we all can celebrate a great victory for our joint effort to defend Prop. 13.   

    The California Second District Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the challenge to Prop. 13’s “supermajority” rule for new state taxes --- i.e. the rule that the Legislature can’t raise taxes without a two-thirds vote in both chambers.   This provision, of course, was added to the California Constitution by voters when they enacted Proposition 13 in 1978.    As you know, the lawsuit was filed by former UCLA Chancellor Charles Young, arguing that the two-thirds vote rule amounted to a “revision” that fundamentally changed the Constitution, not a mere amendment.   As the Second District notes in its decision (attached to this email), the California Supreme Court already upheld the entirely of Prop 13, in its Amador Valley ruling 34 years ago, against this same argument, i.e., that Prop 13 impermissibly “revised” the Constitution.  


    On behalf of your taxpayer organizations, PLF submitted an amicus brief in opposition to Young’s arguments.   We pointed out that not only was Young’s lawsuit redundant and foreclosed in light of the 1978 Amador Valley ruling, but Young’s underlying argument was invalid in any case.   In fact, it is Young’s lawsuit that would impermissibly “revise” the Constitution.   Young sought to drastically shrink voters’ powers of initiative, particularly their clear, constitutionally recognized power to use the initiative process to protect themselves from higher taxes.     So, with this decision rejecting Young’s lawsuit, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld solid legal precedent, the integrity of the initiative process, and the electorate’s right to pull rank on the Legislature when it comes to important issues of taxation.  All in all, a good day’s work for this court.   


    Thank you again for joining us in this important – and successful – effort to defend Prop. 13!


    All the best,

    Harold

    Harold Johnson

    Attorney

    Pacific Legal Foundation

    930 G Street

    Sacramento, CA   95814

    hej@pacificlegal.org

    (916) 419-7111

    fax (916) 419-7747

    cell: (916) 267-3281

  • 25 Jul 2012 8:36 AM | Deleted user

    Voters in the County will be facing a brace of measures and more may be coming in addition to the long list from the state:

     - West Contra Costa Unified School district is looking for a bond AND a parcel tax

     -  ConFire will vote on a pacel tax amount on July 31

     - San Ramon school district has a bond measure

     - Pinole a UUT

     - Strangest of all is the advisory vote in Richmond on a business license "fee" for each ounce of sugary drinks sold.

    Going to be a long and busy ballot!

  • 17 Jul 2012 11:22 AM | Deleted user

    A lot of publicity has gone to CalPERS and its pitiful 1% rate of return. CCCERA is using a 7.75 expected rate of return when for 2011 it earned 2.7%, the 5 year average is only 2.4%, and the 10 year average is 6.2%. Retaining that 7.75% rate of return will push more expenses to the governments in CCCERA including the county and ConFire. That will mean dollars that would go to services will be directed to pension payments.

    Experts are saying this is an unrealistic rate of return but often political decisions get in the way of good finance choices. For example, CalPERS received a lot of pressure from cities and unions who did not want their rate of return reduced from 7.75% to 7.5% when their actuaries suggested an even lower number.  This is because it would increase the cost of the payments to CalPERS. However, realistically, so does only earning the 1% that CalPERS just earned. However, that cost recognition is further in the future. It is expensive to kick the can down then road but that is the choice that is being made. 

  • 10 Jul 2012 7:50 PM | Deleted user

    The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association released the following story:

    "Sacramento – In a victory for the integrity of the ballot process, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District issued an order to the Secretary of State, Deborah Bowen, to reverse her action giving Governor Brown's tax hike initiative preference in the ballot materials or to submit a brief justifying her actions by July 30th. Pursuant to AB 1499, Bowen gave Brown's initiative the highest available number (Prop 30) on the November ballot."

    Read the rest at: http://www.hjta.org/press-releases/pr-court-appeal-orders-secretary-state-justify-manipulation-election-process

  • 06 Jun 2012 12:15 PM | Deleted user

    The poorly conceived Measure S for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District was solidly defeated at 56.44% against and only 43.56% in favor of this parcel tax. There was no money spent on the "No" position - CoCoTAX authored a ballot argument along with two courageous East County citizens who signed the rebuttal along with me. The "yes" side not only had mailers and signs, they were telling the residents that half their stations would be closed, firefighters let go, and their insurance rates would go up. In the face of these threats the voters still said no.

    It is to be hoped that both the fire district board and the firefighters union will learn from this profound message the voters sent.

    I deeply regret that CoCoTAX, its Board, and I have been treated to attacks on our character. Issues choose CoCoTAX, we don't choose them.

  • 16 May 2012 6:44 AM | Deleted user

    Check out the May 11, 2012 Press release about the new $300,000 pension club level created by Craig Bowen formerly of the San Ramon Fire Protection District. He is Contra Costa County Employees' Retirment Association $100,000 Pension Club's first $300,000 man. 

    There are now 645 members of the $100,000 Club (receiving a monthly pension of $8,333 or more per month.) 

    40% of the recipients are former firefighters.  ConFire fills 180 of the 268 firefighter spots. 

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