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Council Votes to Put Tax Increase on Ballot

The city council today (Aug. 4) voted 6-2 to put the proposed sales tax hike on the ballot Nov. 2. Its implementation would be tied to the enactment of financial reforms, such as ending taxpayer funding of a portion of elected officials' pension contributions; going ahead with managed competition, in which the private sector can outbid the government for services; get a private company to operate the Miramar landfill, and finish a study on the efficacy of the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), a double-dipping arrangement for employees close to retirement. (See below.) Republicans Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer voted against the measure, which was essentially arranged by Councilmember Donna Frye. If approved, the tax would go to 8.75 cents on the dollar to 9.25 cents. The success or failure of the proposal will depend on whether San Diego's big money backs it and tosses advertising money into enacting it.

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The city council today (Aug. 4) voted 6-2 to put the proposed sales tax hike on the ballot Nov. 2. Its implementation would be tied to the enactment of financial reforms, such as ending taxpayer funding of a portion of elected officials' pension contributions; going ahead with managed competition, in which the private sector can outbid the government for services; get a private company to operate the Miramar landfill, and finish a study on the efficacy of the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), a double-dipping arrangement for employees close to retirement. (See below.) Republicans Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer voted against the measure, which was essentially arranged by Councilmember Donna Frye. If approved, the tax would go to 8.75 cents on the dollar to 9.25 cents. The success or failure of the proposal will depend on whether San Diego's big money backs it and tosses advertising money into enacting it.

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Comments
45

This post is more appropriate here, so I just copied it over

This is one of the items on that ballot prop that has to be met for the tax to kick in:

"8. Establish a pension plan with reduced benefits for new firefighters."

Can JW (or anybody else) please explain why this is only for new employees?

This subject drives me batty.

Why in the world would you create a two-tiered system? Simply decrease the benefits uniformly for ALL firefighters going forward. This should be trivial to do, but they don't seem capable of doing it.

I understand perfectly that you cannot roll back benefits that have been granted, so that if you have worked the last 15 years with a pension multiplier of 3%, then you are entitled to that 45% pension, whether I like it or not. Why can't you now change the multiplier to 2.5% going forward? Nothing has changed regarding the pension for existing or past employees. All that has changed is future pension contributions, and if you don't like them, then you can quit with exactly what you have currently accrued.

Likewise the retirement age should be raised. You would be able to draw your currently accrued pension at your currently specified retirement age, but anything you accrue from this point forward wouldn't kick until you reached the new retirement age.

That should be applied to all safety and non-safety city workers, and the pension problem becomes manageable.

JW, please explain why this is not completely equitable.

Aug. 4, 2010

Don, you summed up this whole thing nicely. What you did not say is that the "reforms" will do is not much toward any long-term solution. We will now "see what we will see." Will it pass? Will it fail? You're absolutely correct in stating that its success or failure depends upon San Diego's big money.

Aug. 4, 2010

I will tell you what JustClueless and his fellow public employees will say-that they have a "contract" and they are "entitled" to the pension they signed on at.

It is all baloney.

There is no law that says you cannot freeze a current public employee pension plan for past years of service and go forward with a different plan, just as the entire private sector has done forever.

Colorado is in fact (trying to) doing this right now-I will have to see how that case goes and report back when there is a decision.

We know one thing-with states and munis across the nation upside down in one sided gov pay and pension scams the courts will have to make decisions that keeps the states munis solvent, and they will do exactly what it takes to get there-like what the federal BK court did in to Prichard, AL. retirees, cancelled their vested gov pensions b/c there was NO MONEY LEFT.

That day is coming to states and munis all across this nation, and CA, IL, and NJ are at the front of the train wreck..........

Aug. 4, 2010

One trap that voters need to watch for: The one cent State tax increase that passed a couple of years ago is set to expire some time in 2011. Bet me that the campaign in favor of raising the City tax doesn't bring this up as though it's some sort of non-caveat toward voting in favor of the increase.

Aug. 4, 2010

Sorry Paul, Johnny Vegas has all the answers, all the time. He just keeps on repeating the same drivel. He undoubtedly believe if you say it long enough someone, anyone, will believe.

All I'll say is, City Attorney, Former Judge, and former elected State Assemblyman from the 75th District, Jan Goldsmith has said vested pension benefits are constitutionally protected.

Benefits, or the right to certain benefits vest on the day you're hired. Under the law, benefits can be negotiated away as long as they are replace with same of better benefits. That's why the discussion always centers on new hires.

I believe the intent of the constitutional protections, when they were granted, was to keep politicians from medaling or corrupting the system. Unfortunately, in San Diego, our creative politicians found new ways to medal and corrupt the system by tampering with hundreds of millions of dollars in the retirement system.

With that said, please don't take or rely on my or JohnnyV's interpretations.

Here is a link to a video of Mr. Goldsmith's speech to the San Diego County Taxpayer's Association luncheon in January of this year.

http://granicus.sandiego.gov/ASX.php?publish_id=830&sn=granicus.sandiego.gov

The video is not really that long and he WILL answer most, if not all of your question without the bias.

Aug. 4, 2010

Response to post #1: Your suggestions are equitable. It's whether the judges, who are also on government payrolls, will accept them, and whether the unions representing government employees will be able to block them. Remember, the notion that these benefits cannot be changed is still theoretically set in stone in the law. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2010

Response to post #2: We are all flying blind, in a sense: we don't know what has been promised to the nabobs behind closed doors. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2010

Response to post #3: I think I heard today that 47 of the states are in the red right now. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2010

Response to post #4: Yes, I would guess that won't be brought up by proponents. But it will be by opponents, if they have any money to make any ads. Frankly, I don't remember that tax. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2010

Response to post #5: I think you meant "meddle" and not "medal," but several on this blog including SP will prefer the word "medal" for those pols. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2010

Sorry Paul, Johnny Vegas has all the answers, all the time. He just keeps on repeating the same drivel. He undoubtedly believe if you say it long enough someone, anyone, will believe.

All I'll say is, City Attorney, Former Judge, and former elected State Assemblyman from the 75th District, Jan Goldsmith has said vested pension benefits are constitutionally protected.

There you go, JustClueless with his "constitutionally protected" entitlement claims again.

He is going to beat those public union trough feeder talking points until he is blue in the face

Yeah, those "constitutional" protections worked out real good in AL, didn't they!!!!

The train wreck is here, so sit back, grab a lawn chair and some popcorn and watch the "entitlement" claims get tossed around 24/7 by the troughies as they try to stop the train wreck that is already here;

L.A. pensions may consume a third of city's general fund by 2015

City administrative officer reports that benefits for retired police, firefighters, DWP workers and other city employees could grow by $800 million in the next five years.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-la-city-pensions-20100804,0,5060130.story

Aug. 4, 2010

All I'll say is, City Attorney, Former Judge, and former elected State Assemblyman from the 75th District, Jan Goldsmith has said vested pension benefits are constitutionally protected.

Jan Goldsmith's oral opinions are not worth the paper they're written on. Only the US Supreme Court can say whether or not public employee pensions can be cut. Fatso Scalia is going to write the majority opinion on this issue and he's going to use a meat axe on your pension.

Aug. 4, 2010

Thanks Don for catching my spelling error. You're right I did mean meddle. Of course our city leaders meddled with it over the last 28 years bringing. They had their legacies to build. Susan Golding probably the biggest offender, left us with the city we're all dealing with today.

For Paul, as you can read Johnny's comment in #11 above, his posts are like a broken record, stuck in groove, repeating, repeating repeating.

Please note, I didn't say the benefits were Constitutionally protected. I merely linked it to comments made by our City Attorney in a speech to the Taxpayers Association.

I suspect his analysis, as the Attorney representing the City, regarding the vesting rights just might carry some weight.

As I suggested before, you should watch video of our City Attorney's speech and reach your own conclusions.

Aug. 4, 2010

JW: "I suspect his analysis, as the Attorney representing the City, regarding the vesting rights just might carry some weight."

Funny, but that is not the opinion you held two years ago.

Aug. 4, 2010

I suspect his analysis, as the Attorney representing the City, regarding the vesting rights just might carry some weight.

Yeah, the public employees in Prichard Alabama "suspected" the same thing;

http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/1470765/5_20_prichard_pension_plan

Aug. 4, 2010

For Paul, as you can read Johnny's comment in #11 above, his posts are like a broken record, stuck in groove, repeating, repeating repeating.

That's right, and you're not going to silence that record either.........the truth is now out there.

Aug. 4, 2010

I predict that the all powerful Unions (Fire & Lifeguard) will pull out all the emotional stops to protect their "turf & surf" benefits. Big money and Bigger promises are behind this measure and if it passes it will just be the first of many ballot measures to jack the Cost of Living up in SD. Politicians know that with enough money spent on disinformation the measure will pass so "let's let the voters decide" after spending some BIG money from the folks that stand to gain the most (think of it as a down payment on their future earnings)...

As for the: "Its implementation would be tied to the enactment of financial reforms, such as ending taxpayer funding of a portion of elected officials' pension contributions; going ahead with managed competition, in which the private sector can outbid the government for services; get a private company to operate the Miramar landfill, and finish a study on the efficacy of the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), a double-dipping arrangement for employees close to retirement. "

There is PLENTY OF PORK in the above to make up for any potential loses to the "elected officials' pension contributions" and the rest will only make it easier for our $trong Mayor to flex his financial muscles and spread the PORK real thick... They better plan on installing some new carpet in his office because he will be getting lots more new visitors, all with their hand out and a smile on their face...

I for one hope that SurfPuppy is right because a big "loss" for them would be a GIANT WIN for US!

I also think the "Big Train Wreak" is a good analogy since the voters of San Diego have been asleep at the "Ballot Switch" for many elections now and all they have been really interested in is a new stadium. But times are different now, and I'm thinking that with unemployment above 10 % (and going, possible much higher to say 15+%) with no long term jobs in sight, the voters are now drawing down what's left of their fun money. They are starting to ask themselves why our City Employees deserve far far better treatment, than they themselves are receiving (if they still have a job or are retired and are now living on a super tight "fixed" income without any of the HUGE benefits being offered to City workers)...

What's wrong with that picture? I'll tell you; all the City's "Me, Me, Me" people are not in it smiling; and once the voters start thinking about the amount of their tax dollars that have been WASTED by the City, who knows what questions they will start asking next? Remember what one of those speakers said to the Council, at the first Tax Increase meeting, "If you had any real "guts", for want of a better word, you would also put a recall (for the entire City Council) measure on the ballot"...

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #11: Gotcha. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #12: Laws can be changed, particularly in response to economic emergencies. If laws were cemented into place, the South would still have slavery. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #13: Public opinion is changing, as more and more people realize that cities and states are broke, and excessive pensions are a major reason. Courts read the newspapers. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #14: Repeat: city attorneys can be wrong -- particularly this one. Laws can be changed, particularly when they MUST be changed for an entity to remain solvent. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #15: Yes, THAT city attorney's opinions seemed to carry no weight at the time. Now this one is omnipotent. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #16: Glad you mentioned that Alabama adventure. San Diegans should study it. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #17: It seems like the subject is becoming bigger and bigger every day. Soon it will be a tidal wave that can't be ignored. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #18: Excellent points. The city has two backbreaking problems: 1. Excessive pay and benefits to employees; 2. Excessive corporate welfare, primarily downtown, resulting from the real estate industry's control of politicians. The only way San Diego can excise those problems is metaphorically to storm the Bastille. That may be coming. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Reply to 26 That "Perfect $TORM" will happen sooner rather than later as our Economy continues to tank and many once disinterested voters now have no more "fat" in their wallet to give away, so the City can "Party On" ...

Despite what I expect to be "Great Financial News" hype from now to election day; voters will not support any additional tax increase because they are SMART enough to realize that this is just the first of many proposed increases by the City that will destroy their quality of live.

Add to that, the "POT" issue on the ballot which will result in much higher than normal numbers of expected voters , many of which are not employed in high (no pun intended) paying jobs, which sets the stage for a potential landslide of voter disapproval on the tax increase issue!

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #27: Of the so-called reforms to accompany the higher tax are opportunities for private companies to bid on City work. I can see what will happen: a bunch of companies (such as some wanting to own or run Miramar) will give heavily to the campaign for higher taxes. So will the Chargers -- secretly. So there might be enough money behind it for passage. Then the donors will get in line to get their payoffs. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

California law cannot demand the impossible, Cal. Civ. Code 3531.

If it is impossible for the City of San Diego to ever meet its pension retirement AND health obligations, then this state's maxims of jurisprudence may provide the way out, although I doubt that the above will be employed by the City Attorney this side of bankruptcy.

Aug. 5, 2010

It a guiding principle of civil law and it's not impossible.

If you want an example of something really impossible, it would be Surfpuppy619 not posting another comment in Don's "Scam Diego" Blog.

I'm just kidding JohnnyV.... Really it's a joke, and funny too. When Don read it he chuckled!

The City's financial obligations have been labeled by some as distasteful. Nevertheless, they are lawfully negotiated contracts. In fact repeated contacts over several years. But the City, if it chooses, can negotiate.

In fact, in the last few years, the City, through meet and confer negotiations, has imposed new contracts on employee groups.

Aug. 5, 2010

In fact, in the last few years, the City, through meet and confer negotiations, has imposed new contracts on employee groups.

Then why is the state still in a DEPRESSION with a 22% U-6 unemployent rate JustCluess???

Getting an honest answer from greedy, self-serving gov fraudSTERS is an impossibility if you ask me.

California U-6 = 21.7%

http://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt10q1.htm

Aug. 5, 2010

The City's financial obligations have been labeled by some as distasteful. Nevertheless, they are lawfully negotiated contracts.

By JustWondering

LOL...there it is AGAIN.....the old "but we have a CONTRACT" line.....!! I love seeing it, it never gets old.

Actually no, you do not have a lawfully negotiated contract. The contract when signed created an unfunded liability in violation of the CA Constitution, rendering the contract VOID.

Now go over to the dictionary and plug in VOID and see what it says :)

Aug. 5, 2010

That "Perfect $TORM" will happen sooner rather than later as our Economy continues to tank and many once disinterested voters now have no more "fat" in their wallet to give away, so the City can "Party On" ...

We are 24 months into this depression, and even with a trillion dollars of "stimulas" money we are still upside down-CA alone has a 22% Unemployment Rate.

Things have NOT improved, and it appears we are headed for a double dip.

Hold on, this is going to be one wild ride.

The pension tax will be DOA coem November 2, mark my words.

Aug. 5, 2010

33

"Coem" Again, SurfPuppy?

I don't know if that was intentional but it made me "feel good" reading it!

Thanks for sticking to your guns and your viewpoint...

Aug. 5, 2010

I PLEAD THE 5TH ON TYPOS!

I dont use a spell check.....no spell check on Explorer I8

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #29: The current city attorney, along with other politicians now in office, will pray that the problem can be pushed into the future. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #30: It's not the new contracts that are breaking the City. It's the old ones. And some of us say they are not set in concrete. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to posts #s 31-34: Yes, things are bad. And as they get worse, as they well might, there is more chance that the outlandish contracts can be broken. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #35: I don't use a spell check either. If you find a misspelled word in an entry of mine, chances are almost 100% that it is a typo. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2010

No, they ARE set in well settled contract law and constitutional protections.

Aug. 5, 2010

Response to post #40: We all realize that this is your position. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 6, 2010

Re 10:

I prefer to presume that it was a Freuding slip and the author liked it so much it was left in.

Ain't irony grand?

Aug. 10, 2010

Response to post #42: You mean a Freudian slip was showing? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 13, 2010

42 & #43

I've got to ask, Do they keep "Freuding" Ships in Freudian slips?

Aug. 13, 2010

Beats Feuding over ships in slips. Maybe it's a silipism.

Aug. 14, 2010

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