YOU did it! We received countless emails and calls at the City Council today against the sales tax increase.
I want to thank my colleagues Donna Frye and Kevin Faulconer for voting against the sales tax proposal today — and standing firm for real pension reform. If you have a moment, please shoot both Kevin and Donna an email thanking them for their vote! (emails at www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil)
PS: My statement from today’s Council meeting is below…
DeMaio Statement Against Sales Tax Increase — And For Pension Reform
Thank you to all who came out today to testify against this sales tax proposal. I appreciate that you took the time to be part of this important civic dialogue.
I urge my colleagues to reject the sales tax increase today.
This sales tax increase will not save city services – and it most certainly does not solve our financial problems.
This sales tax hike is essentially a “bailout” for the city on the backs of San Diego’s working families – at a time when San Diegans can least afford it because of the tough economy.
Why is this a bailout? Because the city could have avoided it if they had only implemented reforms to the city’s troubled pension system.
They talk about going to a public vote for this sales tax increase, but they haven’t respected the public vote from Prop C on Managed Competition. Now four years later, not one service, not one dollar has been subjected to Managed Competition as voters asked. As a result, millions in savings have been lost.
I’d love to have us spend as much time on pension reform that we have spent on these discussions on increasing taxes. Sales tax boosters ask for specific reforms to the pension. Here are 10:
1. Let’s require city employees pay their fair share for city pension benefits by eliminating all offsets.
2. Let’s keep the budget savings that the City Attorney fought for and obtained on disability costs.
3. While we’re at it, let’s require city councilmembers to pay their fair share as well. It’s time the council lead by example.
Once city employees have to pay the fair cost of the benefits, they will want to migrate to more affordable pension plans.
4. That’s why we should ask city employees to conduct a vote under Charter Section 143.1 to reform their own pension benefits.
5. Let’s also join Orange County in pursuing with the IRS an opt-in/opt-out program of multiple pension tiers.
If they refuse to reform, let’s look at reforms that we have absolute discretion to implement.
6. Let’s finish the job of reforming pensions for ALL new hires – and let’s give them more than just one plan to choose from.
7. Let’s discontinue to the SPSP pension perk.
8. Let’s end terminal leave.
9. Let’s implement cost neutrality for the DROP program.
10. Let’s reform retiree healthcare – and achieve millions in savings immediately from that reform.
The boosters of a sales tax hike say we need to tax now, reform later. They say reform takes time. True. And it takes longer if you never start.
So let’s start — not with a sales tax — but with real pension reform!