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Archive for the ‘Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters’ Category

I’d like to see the actual Chargers stadium proposal, but based on the task force’s official write-up which I presume is accurate, appears to be a $467 million taxpayer giveaway to keep the Chargers here — ignoring cost overruns and “surprises.” And apparently that’s not counting the 60 acres of land valued at $180 million (not sure how land ownership is handled).  Again, I caution that my interpretation of the proposal may not be completely accurate.

The fact that there is no actual tax INCREASE is no surprise — the proponents were desperate to avoid any taxpayer vote on the matter. I predicted this wrinkle months ago.

The U-T recently ran a guest op-ed touting all the benefits to society of mandated prevailing wage contracts — which jack up the price of public works projects 15%-30% (not counting the inefficiencies of union work rules). But it was fraudulently presented.

This piece was  authored by some flunky from the “Middle Class Taxpayers Association.” It’s a bogus outfit (though well funded).

Any cursory check reveals this is a front group completely funded by the local labor unions and liberal foundations. The U-T fails to disclose this. And therein lies the fraud.

From the UT

Michael Zucchet, president of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, said . . . restoring those [past city worker] cuts will require hiring new workers, which he described as a struggle because many city positions have salaries below market rate based on pay freezes and some pay cuts in 2010.

“Funding the positions is only half the battle,” Zucchet said. “It’s just not clear the city is going to be able to hire those people at the current compensation.”


Interesting hypothesis: Nobody wants a San Diego city government job. Seriously??

Here’s a San Diego city firefighter hiring reform we need. Four, actually.

1. Do what EVERY OTHER CITY IN THE COUNTY DOES — hire already qualified firefighters who graduate from accredited firefighter academies — primarily our community college programs. Let the students pay for their firefighter education. No need to start from scratch with a new recruit — putting him (occasionally her) though the city’s own firefighter academy totally at city taxpayer expense. If the city wants to do additional training on top of that, fine — use OJT or hold a short academy for new hires. That’s what other cities do.

Given that the Chargers Task Force meeting clearly was going to be pretty much a Chargers pep rally, I saw little reason to attend and speak. But I DID submit in writing the following short email on crucial points I’m concerned about:

TO THE CHARGERS TASK FORCE: I will not be attending tonight’s meeting, but I’d like to submit a couple thoughts on the stadium issue via this email.

Of course, I have a host of considerations I’d like to present as to why the Chargers stadium should not be subsidized by taxpayers. But doubtless you get a lot on that matter — from both sides.

The Chargers are disdainful of their Qualcomm stadium, paid for by the taxpayers.  The team’s annual rent isn’t much. They CLAIM they pay $2.5 million a year, but — as the Voice of San Diego points out in its fact check article — that is “misleading,” to put it charitably.

Indeed, on a net outlay basis, the Chargers’ rent is usually less than ZERO.  Yes, for all intents and purposes, they play at Qualcomm stadium rent free.

Sooooo, what are the odds the team owners are keen on paying much if anything to the city for the NEW billion dollar-plus stadium?  Where will the “revenue” to pay the revenue bonds come from?

One thing that would help with public employees is to drastically reduce their number.  Do that by contracting out every possible government service.

Yeah, police probably have to be public employees, but most of the other jobs can be outsourced to private companies.  And often are around the country.

Many advantages:

1.  It can be done for less cost.  The evidence is overwhelming.

2.  Contracting out would gut the public employee labor union monopoly, which usually is the most powerful force in electing their city and county bosses!

If only we could all work at those really cool HQ complexes of Apple and Google.  Sadly, we can’t.

Meantime more good paying, minority-friendly jobs are abandoning California for a more business friendly state.  Here’s a recent example — not even considered news any more in California.The Democrat Party — champion of the “little people” — runs California.  Yeah, like THAT’S going well for their claimed constituency.


What Recovery? Farmers Brothers Taking 350 Jobs to Texas or Oklahoma—From Los Angeles
by Stephen Frank

How can you lose money running a golf course when the land is “free” and you pay zero property tax?  You’d think you’d charge enough to pay for the operational costs of such an endeavor. Not so, apparently — if you’re government.

Indeed, the City of San Diego’s annual $2 million municipal golf course operating deficit is understated, as the city doesn’t include the unfunded pension, disability and employee retirement liabilities in its budget or income statement. If the operations of these two golf courses were leased out like the OTHER seven city golf links, there would be no such unfunded liabilities — and no deficits.

“GIGO.”  Garbage in, garbage out.

The city of San Diego lifeguards are probably the highest compensated in the state — but America’s Finest City has a policy of not reporting the full cost of benefits.  Or even MOST of the costs.  ”Too much trouble,” apparently.

Looking at the highest CA lifeguard compensation figures in the article below, it appears to me that the only benefit cost my city includes is health insurance — nothing for pensions, 401k plan, disability insurance, life insurance, retiree health care, etc., etc.  And let’s not overlook the unfunded liability cost (seldom reported) for employee pensions, retiree health care, disability, etc.

Unstated in California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins’ proposed new annual $52 DMV driving “fee” for infrastructure is the bogus assumption that Californians pay too little taxes. False.


* CA has by FAR the highest state income tax rate.

* The highest state capital gains tax rate (2nd highest combined capital gains rate in the WORLD).

* The highest state sales tax rate.

* Easily the highest gasoline and diesel taxes.

* The 10th highest homeowner property taxes.

* The 6th highest state corporate tax rate.

Is California “back,” as the liberal press and our governor so proudly proclaim? No. Not hardly.

In November, California was tied for the second highest/worst state unemployment rate.  In December, we’ve got second place all to ourselves at 7.0%.

The national unemployment rate was 5.6%.  Only “Deliverance” Mississippi was worse. The national unemployment rate not including CA is 5.4%, making the CA unemployment rate 29.4% higher than the average of the other 49 states.

We were at 4.8% in Nov, 2006 – vs. national 4.6%

Here’s an interesting exercise in NFL economics. Some “sports economist” referenced in this otherwise excellent U-T article (Gee, I wonder who funds his academic chair?) has projected that a new San Diego stadium will mean $50 million more annually for the Chargers. Put aside for the moment the biased nature of this “study.”  Suppose it’s true.


Where does the $50 million come from?

A. From increased stadium revenues that go to the Chargers.

Is the $50 million a “net to the Chargers’ (and visiting NFL teams)” figure?

A. Apparently so.

A Defense of Proposition 13 Property Tax Revenues
by Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters
 ***Updated 28 January, 2015***

When it comes to gathering sufficient property taxes, Prop 13 is no problem at all – except for profligate spenders. Look at the history of my San Diego County – a history which pretty much reflects the history of property taxes in the urban/suburban counties that hold over 85% of California’s population.

According to San Diego County, in 1977 – the year BEFORE Prop 13 took effect (when everything was working great, according to Prop 13 critics) – our countywide property tax revenue was about $639 million.  For the recently completed 2013-2014 fiscal year, our county treasurer reports that real estate property tax revenues were $4.932 BILLION.

Well, at least it wasn’t close.  California Governor Jerry Brown has a LOCK on last place in a Cato study that just came out — comparing governors’ performance regarding “Fiscal Policy.”  The second worst governor (John Hickenlooper, D, Colorado) earned an abysmal score — but still scored 37% higher than anchor-clanker Brown.

Thank Goodness Governor Brown is fiscally prudent — verified by gushing accolades from our ever-reliable MSM.  Otherwise Brown might have earned a REALLY low score!

Two state governors were not included in the report — the Republican in Alaska (due to the vagaries of their petroleum-based state budget) and the Democrat in West Virginia, who has been in office too short a time to rate in the survey.

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Item #10


More From Today’s BLS Report:

a) Texas added more than 1,000 jobs every day over the last 12 months, a total payroll increase of 396,200 from July 2013 to July 2014.

b) Texas payrolls increased in the last two months (+77,000) by more than the net increase in California payrolls since December 2007 (see chart above).

c) Texas added more than 15 workers to the state’s payrolls since December 2007 for every one worker added to payrolls in California (1,078,600 net new jobs in Texas vs. 69,400 net new jobs in California, see chart above).

A key (and quite correct) court ruling now blocks the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.  This deal involved a hotel tax that — contrary to the requirements of the state constitution — was imposed without a vote of the electorate.
Now the “gadflies” who filed the lawsuit will be blamed for standing in the way of progress (been there, done that).  But whose fault is it really?

It’s the fault of politicians who, over and over, try to bypass the  voter approval of such deals — approval that IS required by the California constitution and our city charter.  Such a deal should have been brought to the voters three years ago.  It was not, and it wasn’t “the naysayers” who chose to violate the constitution.

The article below on the KNSD TV San Diego website recently was presumably presented as a major TV news story by our local NBC affiliate. It claims that CA teachers are woefully underpaid compared to educators in other states — the truth is that CA teachers are the second/third highest paid teachers of all the states. The story is based on a biased progressive source (a bias not mentioned in the story — a bias that WOULD have been mentioned if it were a CONSERVATIVE source), but — even more important — it demonstrates the remarkable inability of this reporter to even copy numbers down correctly — let alone understand what they represent — or analyze them.

There was one taxpayer victory in the June 2014 primary that I SHOULD have reported, but didn’t.  A tiny, unfunded but determined pro-taxpayer group in Coronado CRUSHED a Ponzi-scheme school bond measure.  It’s perhaps a textbook example of how to defeat the Establishment and the special interests that back such measures.  Representing San Diego Tax Fighters, I provided some expertise (at the request of the bond opponents), but the truth is that the locals made it happen —  not me. Note particularly the quality opposition website — one that added to the professionalism of the rag-tag band of opponents.

Three years ago, California lost its #1 status as the state with the most new private business funding — Texas took over the top spot. Since then the disparity between the two states has grown dramatically.  In 2013, $87.4 billion was invested in Texas by private equity funds.  California businesses received $54 billion.

This spread is more important when one considers the population of these two mega-states:

California 38,333,000
Texas 26,448,000

Hence even with California having a population 44.9% bigger than Texas, Texas businesses scored 61.8% more private investment dollars.

When the feds ran their “cash-for-clunkers” program, the pathetic results, unintended consequences and attendant ridicule should have put an end to this madness.  I wrote a column on this federal folly in 2012.  Here’s the link — and I’ve included the column at the bottom of this post.

The federal madness ended with the Obama administration lamely claiming “mission accomplished,” and the results have largely been forgotten.  But in Left Coast California, no lesson was learned.  Our state-grown version of this clunker boondoggle lurches on.   Not surprisingly, the results are far worse than the disastrous federal program!

Here is an incredibly deceptive U-T story, topped only by the even more deceptive headline “WAGE PUSH GETS BUSINESS BACKING.” The story is about a handful of businesses that recently held a press conference advocating that the city of San Diego adopt a dramatically higher minimum wage ($13 is the one currently proposed by progressives for our city).

Nowhere in the U-T story does the reporter try to quantify the NUMBER or PERCENTAGE of businesses calling for a higher minimum wage at the press conference. He doesn’t tell us how many business owners showed up for the event.  At the VERY least, he should point out the obvious – that a few businesses supporting such a policy tells us nothing about the breadth or depth of such business support.

This week the San Diego media is focused on ONE story — the dozen or more brush fires that have popped up around the county, thanks to EXTREMELY dry conditions, high winds (Santa Ana) and likely arson.

If this fire story were not happening, perhaps we’d all know more about ANOTHER tragedy that hit San Diego this week:  Defense contractor Pratt & Whitney is abandoning its San Diego operation — fleeing for other states.  This closure will cost our city 530 high paying jobs.

San Diego Tax Fighters

June, 2014 California State and San Diego Region Recommendations

San Diego Tax Fighters is primarily interested in fiscal issues.  Thus we have a natural tendency to pick Republicans over Democrats – especially since no third party candidates will be on the November ballot (thanks to the “top two” bogus reform).

Some candidates we endorse by name – indicating we have enough confidence that they will be fairly good (to VERY good) on tax and spend issues.  Some races we make no endorsement for one or more of these three reasons:

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The SAN DIEGO U-T story (below) concerning San Diego’s improving employment numbers (higher than just prior to the start of the 2007 national recession) offers good information to consider, but leaves some aspects unanswered — and some information appears to be outright misleading.  Consider:

1. How many of our employed are part-time in 2014 vs. 2007? Remember, to be counted as “employed” by the government, you need work only one hour a week. If two full-time employees are replaced by three part-time employees (thanks, Obamacare), is that an improvement?

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