No by Nathan Gibbs, http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs/98592171/in/photostream/
The $80/year parcel tax has been assigned Proposition I. It will be a vote by mail going out to all registered voters.
I oppose it primarily because our city officials are raising taxes before they have a sustainable fiscal plan for more than a few months into the future. Hard to believe, but there really is no one running the financial show here other than on a day-by-day, month-by-month basis.
The so called balanced budget that was recently passed isn't even available for inspection as of a few days ago.
Even if you did get a copy, you'd see that the "balancing" is done largely with a combo of proposed sales of real estate to the Redevelopment Agency, a modest contribution to pension by cops, a delay of raises for a couple of years and furloughs.
Nothing about dealing with overhanging massive retirement costs. Nothing with reducing across the board salaries and benefits that are among the highest of any city in the country. Nothing about laying off highly paid managers. Nothing about requiring competitive bidding for nonprofit services and independent performance evaluations.
It offends me that the boosters of this tax sell it as all things to all people. To people worried about insufficient police staffing, the promise is this will prevent layoffs. To people worried about parks, this will protect those. To people concerned about social programs, this also will save those.
That's numerically impossible. At most, this tax will raise maybe $14 million. The budget shortfalls before funding retirements and delinquent infrastructure work is in the hundreds of millions plus range.
But the most misleading part is that if you read the wording of Proposition I, it doesn't specify how the money will be spent. The court held in the previous Measure Y that there is no truth in lending rules for elected politicians. It's not what they say, but what the proposition states that matters.
To me it is clear that we will have to increase taxes even though Oakland residents pay higher real estate taxes than residents of San Francisco and Piedmont.
Federal and state grants and revenue sharing will plummet over the next decade. Real estate tax revenue most likely will stagnate.
But raising taxes before cutting costs so that the taxes go to improving services rather than employee and nonprofit compensation is futile. All it will do is buy a couple of years' time for our elected officials and senior union members to salt away a couple more years of vesting for their own pensions before they retire a la Deborah Edgerly.