California

Good Taxpayer News from the West Coast

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California taxpayers are fighting the good fight, holding their own, and have achieved victories that are not reflected in the negative press the state has been getting recently.
The Golden State’s taxpayers are represented by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), which was formed initially to protect Proposition 13, passed on June 6, 1978. Prop 13 cut the property taxes of every California property owner by 60% and requires a 2/3 supermajority to raise taxes.
Thanks to Prop 13, the assessment rate is now only one percent for all California property and annual tax increases are limited to no more than two percent. When property is sold it is then reassessed at market value, but the rate remains at one percent and the new owner is then protected by the two percent cap on annual increases.
According to the HJTA website, by working through the Legislature, courts, and ballot initiatives, the Association has saved Californians billions of dollars. Estimates are that Prop 13 has saved California taxpayers over $528 billion dollars. And when you add in all of the other HJTA victories, the average California family of four has saved more than $57,000 as a direct result of the activities of Howard Jarvis and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Some recent victories include:

  • Successfully campaigned against Proposition 180, which would have cost taxpayers $3.5 billion to purchase land for special interests.
  • Sponsored and passed Proposition 218 — the Right to Vote On Taxes Act — to restore and expand taxpayer protections provided by Proposition 13.
  • Went to court and successfully blocked an illegal $1.9 billion bond that the state was attempting to issue to cover its expenses. The taxpayers would have been obligated to repay principal and interest.
  • Led the fight that defeated the powerful public employee union campaign behind Prop. 56 — a direct attack on Proposition 13, which would have made it way too easy to increase taxes.
  • Led the successful campaign that defeated Prop. 88, which would have imposed a new state tax on all California property owners.

Recent lawsuits by HJTA have saved taxpayers nearly $4 billion. HJTA maintains a full-time presence in Sacramento to lobby against bills that are bad for taxpayers and to promote those that improve taxpayer protections.
Further information may be obtained from the HJTA website: http://www.hjta.org/

No More Dialogue – Solution Is Here

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SAN FRANCISCO— It’s time to get the special interest money out of the electoral process. Free and Equal (F&E) and Taxpayers United of America (TUA) released lifetime pension payouts for San Francisco area government retirees.
Taxpayers United of America and Free and Equal today revealed government employee pensions for the San Francisco and Alameda area. California is the 13th state in a nationwide tour for the two organizations.
“The highest lifetime pension payout in 13 states thus far comes from Alameda County at $17.8 million. How much money are bureaucrats willing to bilk taxpayers for before they take action?” asked Christina Tobin, TUA Vice President and Founder and Chair of Free And Equal.
“We are here to tell politicians that we are uniting reformers across the spectrum to throw anyone out of office who who makes deals with special interest and we are building the nationwide tool to support the movement. We will be releasing our Nationwide Database for Pension and Electoral reform in the coming days.”
“While residents across the bay area face crushing taxes, falling home values, and high unemployment, Governor Brown maintains favor with the union leaders by seeking a deal to cut government employee pay by 5%, increase taxes, and leave the pension problem untouched. This is the kind of deal that got us into this mess and yet here Brown is, making his own deal, selling out constituents to save face with union bosses who support him.”
Tobin continued, “For example, Gary Thuman, retired Alameda County employee, collects an annual pension of $396,102. His estimated lifetime payout is $17,824,590*.”
Heather Fong, retired San Francisco government employee, has an annual pension of $280,350, with an estimated lifetime payout of $11,858,810*.
“Retired San Francisco government teacher, Mae G. Chan, has a lifetime estimated payout of $9,634,319* based on an actual annual pension of $240,557.”
View pension amounts below:

“California’s government pension systems are crushing middle class Californians. Replacing defined benefit pensions for all new government hires with social security and 401(k)s would eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions. If current government employees would just increase their pension contributions, they would preserve their pension benefits. We need a stable system that is fair to both taxpayers and beneficiaries or pension checks will stop coming.” Added Tobin, who attended Thursday’s Pacific Research Event that examined public pensions.
*TUA submits FOIA requests for actual pensions. Since personal information is not available, lifetime pension payouts are estimated based on retirement at 55, life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590), and 3% COLA.

Governor Brown Fails Fresno

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FRESNO— Governor Brown only missed his budget by about $16 billion and still hasn’t connected the dots between the crisis and the government employee pensions.
While residents across Fresno County face crushing taxes, falling home values, and high unemployment, the governor maintains favor with the union leaders by seeking a deal to cut government employee pay by 5%, increase taxes, and leave the pension problem untouched. This is the kind of deal that got us into this mess and yet here Brown is, making his own deal, selling out constituents to save face with union bosses who support him.
Taxpayers United of America (TUA) and Free and Equal (F&E) today revealed government employee pensions for the Fresno area. California is the 13th state in a nationwide tour for the two organizations.
“Many government retirees make more in pension payments than private sector taxpayers make in salaries, stated Christina Tobin, TUA Vice President and Founder and Chair of Free And Equal. “The California economy and the public pension systems are in serious trouble. Taxpayers struggle to save for their own retirement and fund the public pension system. Government retirees should be concerned that their pension payments will continue.”
Tobin continued, “For example, James J. Greenwood, retired Fresno County employee, collects an annual pension of $317,113. His estimated lifetime payout is $13,841,965*.”
Peter G. Mehas, retired Fresno government teacher, has an annual pension of $241,807, with an estimated lifetime payout of $9,357,934*.
“Retired Fresno government employee, Al Rush, has a lifetime estimated payout of $7,852,896* based on his actual annual pension of $191,768.”
View pension amounts below:

“California’s government pension systems are crushing middle class Californians. Replacing defined benefit pensions for all new government hires with social security and 401(k)s would eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions. If current government employees would just increase their pension contributions, they would preserve their pension benefits. We need a stable system that is fair to both taxpayers and beneficiaries or pension checks will stop coming.” Added Tobin, who will be attending Thursday’s Pacific Research Event that will examine public pensions.
“The pension crisis is the number one budgetary problem for cities, counties and states across the country. A nationwide movement is under way to shift the dialogue to action. We are collaborating with the leaders of pension reform, in working to avert the collapse that will result from inaction. We will be launching our nationwide database for pension and electoral reform in the coming days. This online database will provide a repository of information on elections: the names, the money and the agendas.”
“Many politicians lack the courage to do what’s in the best interest of taxpayers. The many pension groups that have formed are working to help enhance the citizens’ groundswell that wants true electoral reform.”
*TUA submits FOIA requests for actual pensions. Since personal information is not available, lifetime pension payouts are estimated based on retirement at 55, life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590), and 3% COLA.

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DISCLAIMER

Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.

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