Oct 30 2012

Opinion: A Chicken Little Strategy in Measure Y

Parcel tax dollars not being spent on vital services –

The proponents of Measure Y have adopted the “Chicken Little” strategy: the sky will fall if Piedmonters decline to spend an additional $1800 over the next four years for a tax, intended to be temporary, that some now wish to treat as permanent. Yet, curiously enough, supporters of Measure Y can’t specify a single vital service (police, fire, paramedic, streets, sewers) that would be cut if Measure Y is defeated.

The reason? It is simply that our parcel tax dollars are not spent on vital services. They are being devoted to an out of control and unsustainable rise in city employee and health care costs. Both the Municipal Tax Review Committee and the Budget Advisory Committee (both appointed by the City Council) have expressed alarm about the resulting dangers to the future of our city. Yet, the City Council has failed to provide a plan that will reduce these constantly escalating costs that now constitute a $40,000,000 unfunded liability ($10,000 per household) for Piedmont taxpayers. In response, the Council says “trust us” when they have taken no action to warrant that trust.

Current contracts with city employees expire either in December of this year or July of next year. Thus, the Council has an immediate opportunity, in negotiating new contracts, to demonstrate that they can rein in employee benefit costs by insisting upon substantially larger employee contributions. The wise course of action is to defeat Measure Y and then hold the Council to its promise of greater fiscal responsibility in the future.

Lincoln famously said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Let’s prove Lincoln right by voting no on Measure Y. For more information, visit www.NoOnMeasureY.com.

Steve Weiner, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.  The Piedmont Civic Association does not support or oppose candidates or ballot measures.

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