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January 25, 2010

Comments

Ron Fulderon

It's time for the state, county and maybe the city to go bankrupt. Raising taxes to solve a severely broken system isn't going to work.

http://volokh.com/2010/01/25/californias-public-employee-pension-problem/

SJM

The President was just interviewed by Diane Sawyer for a Thursday broadcast. He said "I can guarantee that the worst thing we could do would be to raise taxes when the economy is still this weak."

Joe

This new County thread could prove to be a long one over the next year. Read it and weep:

Lack of state funds jeopardizing roads

Journal Staff Report

A lack of state money used to protect unincorporated county roads from potholes, cracks and assorted deterioration has left San Mateo County’s roads in danger of requiring costly repairs.

Inadequate maintenance has left the roads at a dead average with others in the state, according to a study by The Road Information Program which also pegged California as the worst nationwide aside from New Jersey.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday will consider a statewide study on road conditions and potentially authorize board President Rich Gordon to send letters to the governor and legislators supporting stable transportation funding. The letters would also oppose future cuts, particularly siphoning money away from the Highway User Tax Account — a pool of local fuel sales revenue — to solve the state’s own budget crisis.

The study sparking the board’s concern looked at all 58 counties and 478 cities in 2007 to 2008. Using a scale of zero to 100 — failed to excellent — the authors put San Mateo County’s average pavement condition index at 68. The score is the same as the state average, within the at-risk category warning of far more costly repairs and replacement in the future if adequate maintenance does not happen now.

Ron Fulderon

We may have bad roads but we have a heck of a retirement program for government employees (retire in your 50s and get +90% of your salary for the next twenty, thirty or forty years). Let's be proud of that.

Think about that the next time you break an axle or see some motorcyclist dead on the road.

Holyroller

Please, Please,
Do not throw all Public Employees "under the Bus."
IT IS THE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT WHO ARE THE PROBLEM.
After 9/11 the Police and Fire got everything they asked for.
However in Burlingame, CA, there has never been hazard duty.
All Police Departments, as well as Fire should be paid according to their responce issues.
Burlingame riots, massive fires.
The COB Pollice & Fire make/have more benefits and pay than Cities like Oakland,SF, Fresno, and San Jose.
Why should the COB pay/reward our P&F the same as P&F that have to deal with real crime everyday?

Joe

Banging your buck:

A sales tax dedicated to a specific purpose like the county hospital may have the best chance of success at the ballot box but other revenue generators like business, utility users and rental car taxes should also be considered, the Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday.

No one tax idea raised received a firm go-ahead by all the supervisors who asked that a consultant be retained and staff look at what other city and district measures might come before voters this June and November.

However, a dedicated sales tax received the most vocal support, followed by a business license tax and taxes on rental cars and airport parking. Unlike a general tax increase that can only be placed on the ballot the same time supervisor seats are up for grabs, a specific tax proposal can come any time but requires a two-thirds majority. Voters may also be more inclined to support a hike if they know how the funds will be spent, said Supervisor Mark Church.

A quarter-cent sales tax also delivers “the biggest bang for the buck,” Gordon said, citing the estimated $30 million return.

resident

Per the Daily Journal more candidates are going to run for county treasurer

A community college district trustee and an investment advisor are the latest candidates to throw their hat into the ring for the county treasurer/tax collector and both say they are the right person to prevent future snafus like the one that leeched $150 million from the investment pool.

Richard Guilbault, president of Guilbault Asset Management, formally declared his intention Monday, a week before the formal candidate filing period begins and far after Deputy Treasurer/Tax Collector Sandie Arnott and former Burlingame mayor Joe Galligan announced their campaigns for the June 8, 2010 election.

Dave Mandelkern, vice president of the San Mateo County Community College District also confirmed he will make a play for the office.

SJM

Even with across-the-board cuts, San Mateo County will be able to retain 90 percent of its services and employees but residents should be ready for some change, according to County Manager David Boesch.

“The fact is we’re looking at fewer services, longer wait times and a reduction in the safety net web,” Boesch said in an overview of the county’s budget situation yesterday.

The county’s finances — marked by a structural deficit growing past $100 million and expenses shooting past revenue by $126 million — has long been painted grim.

The budget is growing at double the rate of inflation, hit by “substantial increases in benefits and salary,” and includes added staff at Burlingame Long-Term Care, mental health services, Medi-Cal eligibility termination, the sheriff’s relief pool used for staff shortages and opening of the Youth Services Center, Boesch said.

Simultaneously, vehicle license fee funds and sales tax, much from the San Francisco International Airport, declined.

If the county doesn’t act, Boesch said the structural deficit will hit $150 million by 2012-2015.

Ron Fulderon

hey, i got an idea.....

hillsider

Despite an increased demand for park use, the county’s woeful budget will allow its parks department to just barely keep them open in the coming year.


It was a statement Parks Director Dave Holland told county officials yesterday as he also warned Devil’s Slide will soon become the county’s responsibility to manage at a cost of about $500,000 a year. Once Caltrans completes tunnel work south of Pacifica, the old coastal Highway 1 road that wraps around Montara Mountain and the surrounding area will come under county control.


The extra $500,000 commitment comes at a time when the county is making critical decisions on how to trim its bloated budget.


Thirteen department heads lined up in Redwood City yesterday to spell out the significant cuts and service reductions taken to help the county balance its roughly $1.7 billion budget for the next fiscal year at a San Mateo County Board of Supervisors study session.


The board tackled its higher-cost departments last Tuesday during a half-day study session and considered the others yesterday.


Holland told the board that about $650,000 in cuts his department will absorb has forced the elimination of 10 percent of the department’s workforce, meaning the county’s parks will be staffed just enough to keep them open.


Salary and benefits cost increases attribute to most of the rise in the parks department budget, Holland said.


Boogeyman

Again, a short-sighted solution= Laying off folks so that taxpayers pay fewer people more money for less service.

What you do is stop the pension and benefits programs that will continue to rise no matter how few workers you have.

If you don't then soon we will have one Muni driver making $500,000 a year to drive 2 blocks in a broken-down bus.

Ron Fulderon

I don't think it is short sighted from their point of view. The state politicians and government bureaucrats are just trying to get to November when they hope to win one of the propositions that changes the rules - BIG TIME.

It's very possible that a "California End the Two-Thirds Requirement Amendment" will get on the ballot in November.* If this proposition does get on the ballot and wins it will be quite easy for the California assembly to raise taxes. Currently they can't raise taxes without a 2/3 majority. This amendment to the California constitution will change to a very simple 50.001%. In this Democrat and very gerrymandered state with such a large government and powerful civil servant labor unions it will be easy for them to get 50% votes for raising taxes.

Boogeyman, you are of course right about how public services that we pay for with our taxes will continue to drop for the next 20 to 30 years as the civil service boomers retire and start siphoning off the tax revenue for their own benefit at the expense of everyone else.

As has been pointed out we have to fix that by changing salaries and retirement benefits and cutting out lots of expenses in areas where the government doesn't belong.

But the Left and the civil service unions have an alternative plan -- Raise taxes on the productive people. They can't easily do it yet so they are working in the background to get this thing on the ballot and sneak it through.

* check out the guy George Lakoff. He's a real slime ball lefty that is driving this thing. They are going to "frame" this proposition very simply - 50.001 is of course a majority and urge people to vote to correct the illogic of defining 2/3 as a majority, while trying to ignore why the state constitution defines it that way. It's going to be a very low, appealing to stupidity, campaign with this George Lakoff involved.

Holyroller

Has anyone seen the front page of todays Examiner?
Mr. Fulderon, I see that you are upset with public servants getting paid for their work and retirement benefits.
Whenever I see comments like yours,I am always curious as to how your lifestyle is maintained.
Without going into detail, how do you pay your morgatge, day to day bills?
Do you support a family?
Did you inherit?
Do you receive MediCare, or pay out of your own pocket for health care?
I am sure that you will feel free to answer these questions if you are commited to your idealogy.
Looking forward to your responce..
Holyroller

Ron Fulderon

Holyroller, I spent a half hour respectfully and honestly drafting an answer to your questions to show you that I am basically a pretty middle class guy, but then went back to reread your list asking who I am and thought about it a moment. I've come to the conclusion having read your comments in the other topics that you don't understand these issues very well and because of that you challenge the commenter rather than address the issue.

So in answer to your questions about me I will simply say that I have a family, work, and pay taxes.

fred

*golf clap*

Phil Hartman

Ron drained the putt.

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