The STA Draft II Vision Plan will be presented
to the membership at the January 17th, 2008 General Board meeting. If
you want to know what STA is doing, and plans to do in the future, you'll
want to attend this meeting. If unable to attend, you may request a copy
to be mailed to you (after January 10th).
REVENUES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM
By Assemblyman Roger Niello
The cries for tax increases have already
begun. Sunday's Sacramento Bee editorial section gave us this latest quip:
"Given the [State budget] uncertainties, Californians should brace
for severe cuts in public services. But they should also demand that the
pain be distributed equally. That will mean higher taxes, user fees and
elimination of tax credits benefiting certain industries."
Other than the fact that it has been consistently
demonstrated that new taxes will never bring in the revenues that are
projected because taxes do indeed alter behavior, the real issue is not
that California suffers from a lack of revenues, it's that it suffers
from overspending. This fact couldn't be more clear in last week's Fiscal
Outlook presentation by Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill.
It's true that revenues are falling short
of predictions. Due to the housing market and other factors, the State
is not collecting the revenue that it was forecast to last May when the
budget's economic and revenue forecasts were put together. But this fact
doesn't tell the whole story. While revenue projections are down this
year, the fact remains that the State's year over year revenue growth
remains consistent. Under the revised projections, California is expected
to bring in nearly $99 billion in 2007-08, a 3.5% increase in total revenue
over the $95.5 billion that we will take in in 2006-07. If you think carefully
for a minute about the fact that 10 years ago, our total revenues were
not quite $55 billion, you can clearly see that revenues are not the problem.
It only takes a quick look at the other side
of the ledger to see the actual problem. While California enjoys consistent
revenue growth, those revenues are quickly swallowed up by spending. According
to the Legislative Analyst's Office, "…General Fund expenditures
will grow from $104.2 billion in 2007-08 to $111.4 billion in 2008-09,
an increase of 7 percent, far outpacing any revenue gains we make during
this same period.
And while revenue growth over the next five
years pencils out at 5.6%, many State budget programs continue to grow
beyond this level. For example, during this same five-year period, in
home support services (IHSS) grows at a rate of 7.2%, funding for developmental
disabilities grows at an 8.9% clip, and our debt service on the infrastructure
bonds grows at a whopping rate of 12.2%.
We cannot continue to sustain these levels
of spending growth. Spending has to be brought in-line with revenues-not
the other way around. In fact, work must begin immediately to address
this year's projected $1.9 billion shortfall. My Assembly Republican colleagues
and I stand ready to begin this work and in the meantime will not support
a budget that does not address our long-term spending addiction.
WATCHDOG GROUPS RELEASE ANNUAL "CALIFORNIA PIGLET BOOK"
(Washington, D.C., 11-14-07) - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)
and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation (HJTF) today released the fifth
annual California Piglet Book, the definitive guide for reducing waste,
fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the State government.
The waste, fraud and abuse listed in the 2007 California Piglet Book totals
more than $3 billion and include egregious examples such as:
- A hospital wasting millions of taxpayer
dollars on extravagant, unneeded luxuries while falling deeper into
- Berkeley Housing Authority subsidizing
rent for dead tenants;
- Southern California Metropolitan Water
District ratepayers spending millions to subsidize a local "Water
Museum," then seeing rates increase;
- Non-functioning automated toilets flushing
away millions of taxpayer dollars;
- Benefits given to a dead water district
- "Trees for a Green L.A." taking
3 ½ years to plant a third of its goal for one year, at double
- An L.A. housing project bringing in a
Zen priest to help with conflict management;
- Ineligible prison inmates receiving hundreds
of thousands of dollars in state and federal benefits;
- Shasta County offering 'pet care benefits'
to employees; and
- The President of Mira Costa College spending
six figures to investigate the theft of a $300 tree.
The billions of dollars of waste, fraud,
and abuse mentioned in this year's Piglet is simply further evidence of
the continued need for additional transparency on all levels of government.
This scrutiny will be especially important this year as California deals
with a potential $10 billion budget deficit and additional billions worth
of unfunded pension liabilities," said HJTF President Jon Coupal.
"California should adopt a Funding Accountability
and Transparency Act-legislation that would create a Google-like search
engine and database to track State grants, contracts, and earmarks,"
said CAGW President Tom Schatz. "With private sector expertise and
the help of nonprofit organizations such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers
Foundation, citizens could analyze every nook and cranny of the California
budget to ensure that every tax dollar is accounted for and follow-up
to make sure the waste is eliminated."
The California Piglet Book combines elements
of two perennial CAGW publications, the Congressional Pig Book and Prime
Cuts, with HJTF's knowledge of the California State budget. The report
exposes areas in the State budget where wasteful spending can be eliminated,
providing a valuable resource to legislators and taxpayers.
The report is available online at www.cagw.org
and www.hjta.org. For
answers to further questions, to schedule an interview, or to order a
hard copy, please contact Alexa Moutevelis (202-467-5318, email@example.com)
or David Wolfe (916-444-9950, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan,
nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and
mismanagement in government. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation is
dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and promoting taxpayers'
LETTERS TO THE ASSOCIATION
We seek “Letters to the League”
from Members concerning projects and issues on which we are working, along
with recommendations on those we should look at. Letters may be edited
and republished in any format, primarily in the interest of available
space. Send letters, faxes, or e-mail to the Sacramento Taxpayers Association. Our e-mail is email@example.com,
our telephone number is 916 399-5600, and our address is:
1620 35th Ave. Suite K
Sacramento, CA 95822
Effective December 1st, 2007, the Sacramento
Taxpayers Association (STA) has relocated to larger quarters in a different
part of the City. The STA had been in a small, one room office in the
Point West area for two decades or so. Now the STA is located in a three
room office with twice the space (but 35% cheaper per square foot), and
easy access to coffee, food, and public transit. Plus, we're right across
the street from the City Fire and Police administrative center.
The new information is as follows:
- 1620 35th Avenue, Suite 'K' (across the
street from the northern end of the Executive Airport, and behind the
Jack-in-the-Box parking lot).
- 399-5600 Telephone/Fax (we were unable
to keep the same phone number, due to the distance of the move). Email
remains the same.
To the Texas-Mexican Restaurant on 8th Street
near 'K', which re-opened earlier this month. Restaurant owner Griselda
Barajas was evicted by the City from this same location over a year ago-but
is back now, bigger and better than ever. The grand opening ceremony included
Assemblyman Dave Jones, Councilmen Rob Fong and Kevin McCarthy, the heads
of the Asian and Hispanic Chambers, and the Secretary of the Central Labor
Council-plus very large crowds. Congratulations to Griselda, and husband
Mike Keolanui, for proving that you can fight City Hall and come out okay.
To the City of Sacramento, for not following
the advice of a respected Supreme Court Judge, and then suing downtown
landowner Moe Mohanna over a land exchange on 'K' Street. Then, after
an appeal is filed, the City loses that too. With the already described
multi-million dollar budget deficit for next year, and the proposal to
use $222 million in City funds and redevelopment monies for the Railyards
project, taxpayers can't help but wonder where all the money for this
lawsuit is going to come from.
Actually, I think we already know..........................!