Drain the Swamp

by Lou Binninger

Yuba-Sutter Trump-lovers want a local version of ‘draining the swamp.’ They see a bloated government bureaucracy devouring tax dollars, reducing services and increasing pay, pension and health benefits. Poor Yuba County has one employee for every 74 residents.

Numerous agencies are troubled by controversy, expensive litigation and fantastic legal settlements. People wonder why employees can’t just do their jobs, work hard and behave themselves.

Meanwhile, customary services are reduced and some departments lock their doors during business hours to “benefit the public!” People pay enough taxes for perfect roads but instead Third World cracks and pot holes must be dodged with the skill of a Formula One driver.

The cost of city, county, state and federal workers and regulations is crushing the Golden Goose of business that pays the bills. Yet, rather than shrinking government, politicians and bureaucrats want to take more revenue from the citizens and make more rules to maintain the bureaucracy. Hillary Clinton calls them “Deplorables” and to Governor Jerry Brown they’re “Free-Loaders.”

In Yuba County, the “Deplorables’” Median Household Income is $48,739 (This includes the income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over living there) and 16.6% of them live in poverty. Median pay and benefits for year around fulltime employees of Yuba County government in 2016 was $83,108.

“Deplorables” and “Free-Loaders” are tired of the government hustle. Year after year they pay more for less. It is absurd. An occasional quip from government workers is that they could earn much more in the private sector. It’s time to take advantage of those wonderful opportunities.

Rather than cut costs Yuba County now wants to add another 1% to the sale tax, copying Marysville. Marysville’s bait and switch rhetoric scamming voters is already being adopted by Yuba County leaders. Government monies are fungible in that money raised for one purpose can easily be used for another objective and disguised.

Marysville councilmembers promised that they could be trusted to use the extra tax revenue for police and fire. Don’t laugh.

Sales tax increases have little negative impact on the county’s top income earners. The poor are the ones punished by sales taxes since transportation costs represent a much larger percentage of their household budgets. Many county employees don’t even pay their own auto expenses. Supervisors even get a per diem allotment covering auto costs.

Yuba County government has been expanding, adding code enforcement people, workers assigned to the homeless and medical staff. When Doctor Joe Cassady was hired in 1992 he served as County Health Officer, oversaw medical care in the jail for 400 inmates and for 45-55 youth at juvenile hall.

Since Cassady retired, there is a new Health Officer, a different doctor for the jail and Cassady has been rehired to serve at juvenile hall. Cassady did what now are three jobs for one salary, received a state commendation for his work and the supervisors spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to fire him. Hold that thought.

Just as Marysville Councilmembers made decision after decision that buried the city in millions of dollars of debt so has the county. Supervisors committed county funds elsewhere that should have gone to the law enforcement budget. In turn, millions of federal immigration detainee dollars were used to finance the sheriff’s department..

Now, the general fund is overcommitted, can’t fulfill its mandate to protect and somehow it is the public’s fault. The county says the “Deplorables” need to pay more taxes. It’s no different than a household budget. Overspending and borrowing spell disaster.

County officials have squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs bungling marijuana ordinances and suing property owners. They also wasted money contesting the opposition to the Magnolia Ranch development in court. Poor decision-making comes easy around here.

Supervisors earning $80,000 and department heads making $200,000 and more want to convince poor people to pay more taxes to support those earning 2 and 3 times as much.

Candidate Trump’s promise to shrink government and regulations was declared nonsense by politicians and bureaucrats of all parties. What a difference a year makes. However, California politicians prefer the fragrance of the socialist swamp they’ve created.

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