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Three reasons not to vote for state tax hike this November

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POSTED July 20, 2012 11:04 p.m.

Manteca’s police and firefighters - just like many other municipal and private sector workers - have gone without a pay raise for three to four years. And in many cases, people have had their pay cut over the past three to four years either through a reduction in what they earned per hour or having hours cut back. Even those paid via set salaries have had their compensation slashed while being expected to work more.

You’ll be happy to know that at least one group in California is no longer suffering with stagnant wages or have to deal with wage cutbacks. They’re getting pay raises - a nice big fat pay raise of up to 10 percent courtesy of you and me.

The chosen are among more than 1090 staff members of California legislators including 110 people making in excess of $100,000 a year. The total cost is $22 million a year.

An apparent descendent of Marie Antoinette - State Senator Darrel Steinberg -   summed it up by saying that the staff worked hard and had gone four years without an increase in compensation so a modest raise was justified. Forget almost every state worker is getting ready to take a 5 percent cut because the state has - news flash - no money.

Remember, Steinberg is one of the same people who voted to place an initiative on the ballot this November to increase the sales tax so the state can keep on trucking as if there is no economic crisis.

So what do you think the state is going to do if you give them more money to spend in November? Do you really think they are going to change their ways and make sure you get the most bang for the dollar?

This is not an isolated incident.

The California State University system’s trustees are saying financial Armageddon will sweep across all of the campuses resulting in massive layoffs and mega hikes in tuition if we don’t approve the sales tax and income tax increase in November. Then, in the next breath, they grant campus presidents 10 percent pay hikes pushing their salaries past $300,000 in addition to $60,000 annual housing allowance and $15,000 a year vehicle allowance.

Then there was the high muck-a-much in the State Department of Parks who covertly put through vacation buyouts for himself and his cronies costing taxpayers over $2 million even though there has been a freeze on such compensation for years. As a footnote, the guy has since retired and won’t even get a slap on the hand because it was technically compensation that was once due the state employees. Forget the fact that in order to do the buyouts he had to circumvent the system and direct staff members not to commit anything to paper or e-mails about it and instead use Post-it Notes to communicate efforts to get the payroll checks jacked up. Then there is the added bonus that such payouts will increase the size of their retirement checks.

Times are obviously tough but not for the political ruling class.

Sacramento is innovative when it comes to funding ways to keep spending money as well as funding new ways to tax everyone else for their undisciplined spending habits. But when it comes to innovations to streamline government to cut costs they are nowhere to be found.

So before your mark the first proposition on the ballot this November, ask yourself one question: Is giving the state more taxes akin to giving a meth addict more meth?

 

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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