by Lou Binninger
Hundreds of thousands of your dollars are being spent to sell you a sales tax increase (1% increase to 8.25%) in Yuba County. It’s called Measure K on the November 2018 ballot. This misappropriation of the people’s money is supposed to be against the law, but the government rarely enforces laws against itself.
Supervisor Gary “The Gift” Bradford banters daily on social media about which segments of the community will benefit by the new gush of cash. He spells out how many new deputies, Plumas Lake gets one, how many dollars for fire departments, more dispatchers and correctional officers. He appears to be campaigning for this Measure financed by the taxpayers, both illegal acts.
The ballot argument for K says it makes sure these crimes are prosecuted and justice is served, response times will be improved and more cuts to public safety prevented. “These crimes” in the argument refers to sexual assaults and elder abuse. Really, we are not going to prosecute these crimes any longer without money from K?
The problem is there is no legal compact with the voters to assure these amazing promises. There is no guarantee. How many times have we voted for water bonds for decades and have no new water resources today?
It’s like hiring a contractor to remodel your house with no set of plans and no written contract, just a promise and a description. It’s hard enough to get people today to honor a contract and now we will trust the word of politicians and bureaucrats? Where has that been working?
Proponents argue, “Funding can only be spent locally on vital services like public safety.” Is anyone personally liable for breaking this promise? Can anyone be sued?
What are these “vital services?” Can the non-vital services of the county be eliminated or severely reduced to move dollars to public safety? Why doesn’t the county get out of the non-vital service business? The state furloughs “Nonessential Services” employees in times of financial trouble, why not scrub them altogether?
The ballot argument states Measure K will “make sure a sheriff’s deputy, medical responder or firefighter can show-up when you call.” Does that mean if the tax increase fails then we get no emergency response in the county?
Bi-County Ambulance (BCA) is a private business that responds to all medical emergencies and structure fires in Yuba and Sutter Counties. When “911” is called BCA is dispatched. Each ambulance has an emergency medical technician and paramedic on board, is in contact with the hospital and their response times are not controlled by the county budget. Units are staged throughout the two counties to insure the best possible response.
The REACH helicopter posted at the Yuba County Airport is also a nongovernment service that will continue to provide excellent care to county residents. An annual $65 fee can also provide no-cost air ambulance transportation in a medical emergency for anyone in the household to the nearest hospital.
Foothill fire departments have always been primarily a volunteer effort and proudly so, just like the majority of firefighters in the nation. There is no guarantee in Measure K to make them a paid fire unit but it is being portrayed that way.
What is not mentioned anytime or anywhere regarding Measure K is the “P” word, pensions. Spiking pension and health benefit payments are the cause of budget deficits. Politicians’ eyes were bigger than the taxpayers’ wallets when giving out gifts to employee unions.
Taxpayers are unlikely to vote new taxes for government Cadillac benefit plans that they cannot afford themselves. So public relations firms hired by Yuba County say hide the ugly benefits problem in the closet. It’s tough to sell a tax with a straight face to pay for a pension that is 2-3 times as much as the median household income in the county.
Measure K consultants collecting nearly $7000 each month in tax dollars are counting on their campaign instilling fear and misinforming voters. It wins elections.