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California's High Taxes

Original post made by Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows, on May 8, 2009

While Sandy seems busy reposting apparent Letters to the Editor regarding Measure G, here's some opinions that may put things into perspective:

Web Link "We have the highest state income tax rates in the nation, one of the top sales tax rates (even before the 1-cent increase) and the highest corporate tax rates in the West.

Proposition 13 has given California a low property tax rate. But because of high real estate prices, the property tax burden is near the national average. Besides, many school districts have adopted parcel taxes and bond measures.

Overall, California ranks sixth in the nation, measured by the percentage of income spent on state and local taxes, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.

The problem with California's tax system is not necessarily the average amount of revenues raised over time. It is the volatility of some state taxes."

Web Link "In years past, we planned as if income tax revenues, driven by capital gains, would continue to soar; that property tax values, driven by housing prices, were limitless; that returns on public investments, driven by the stock market, could only go up. And that demand for services, driven by population increases, would continue rise steadily and consistently.

Using those assumptions, public agencies floated bonds to build new facilities, hired new staff, negotiated generous government worker wages and promised benefits and pension to employees that were unmatched in the private sector. We're now seeing that the financial house was built on an unstable foundation that has started to crumble and threatens to bring down the entire structure.

There is much pain ahead. Jobs will be cut and services curtailed, hurting the neediest among us the most. Salaries must be trimmed. Benefits must be brought under control. Sadly, much of the cost is being irresponsibly pushed off through borrowing onto the next generation.

This was avoidable. If only our leaders had remembered during the good times that we need to set aside money for a rainy day. If only they had heeded warnings that the economy could slip; tax revenues could falter; the housing and stock markets could tank; and, yes, as we saw this month from the state Department of Finance, even population growth could slow.
It should all serve as a reminder that, just as most of us at any time could lose our source of income and should maintain savings accordingly, so too are our public agencies vulnerable to major swings in revenues.

Our local leaders should keep solid reserves on hand to buffer against the downturns and resist the temptation to commit to programs, salaries and benefits that are only sustainable when times are good."

Comments (9)

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Me think Sandy is a teacher.

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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Anyone see the channel 5 CBS broadcast this weekend on home prices in Pleasanton. It stated that homes are being overbid because so many people from surrounding areas want to move to Pleasanton. It specifically stated the quality of schools as the most cited reason for moving here. It went on to say that, while other communities have seen their home values fall, Pleasanton has not.

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Posted by fact checker is deparate
a resident of Del Prado
on May 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

"fact checker"; since you are posting this under every topic you must be getting nervous. stick to the topic please...and actual facts.

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

The problem is that the few are paying the taxes of all. There are many people in Pleasanton that are paying next to nothing for taxes due to Prop 13. Many are grandfathered into the system, some have the tax rate of their parents and some are exempt. These are the same homes that will be exempt from the parcel tax. So the few are paying for everybody. They are the ones that are paying taxes on recent home sale values and will pay the parcel tax as well. California is going to have to get real and adjust property taxes like every other state does....on value not on when you bought your home and whether you're living on a fixed income. EVERYBODY needs to share the brunt of this economic problem.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

-California's State/Local Tax Burden Above National Average
-California's 2009 Business Tax Climate Ranks 48th
-California's Top Individual Income Tax Rate Is the Highest in the Nation
-California's Corporate Income Tax Rate is the Highest in the West
-California's Sales Tax Rate Exceeds National Median
-Property Tax Collections Slightly Below Average
California ranks in the middle of the pack when the states are ranked on combined state/local property tax collections.
-Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures: California is a Donor State
California taxpayers receive less federal funding per dollar of federal taxes paid than the average state.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I wouldn't mind paying more in property tax if the income and sales taxes were much much lower.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 11, 2009 at 11:27 pm

The first post is not mine. Just another wannabeeeeeee.....tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

Like this comment
Posted by Greg
a resident of Country Fair
on May 12, 2009 at 9:03 am

Sandy posted that she is a teacher but then had the post removed.
She wants to maintain an illusion of being unbiased.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 9:16 am

How is this for some waste and what we are supporting with our tax money.

There is a good editorial in the Sacramento Bee today on the public employees who are making more than $100,000 per year in pensions. You can find it at: Web Link . They reference a website where you can do a search by agency to see those making more than $100,000 in pensions. For Pleasanton, there are currently 22 retired Pleasanton personal making over $100,000 per year in pensions.

They are:

Search by First, Last or Full Name Search by Employer


Name Monthly Annual Employer Name

TIMOTHY NEAL $14,035.34 $168,424.08 PLEASANTON

STEWART GARY $13,168.05 $158,016.60 PLEASANTON

SUSAN ROSSI $12,499.04 $149,988.48 PLEASANTON

GARY TOLLEFSON $11,854.06 $142,248.72 PLEASANTON

JOHN GOODWIN $11,482.71 $137,792.52 PLEASANTON

BRIAN SWIFT $10,523.83 $126,285.96 PLEASANTON

DAVID RADFORD $10,451.79 $125,421.48 PLEASANTON

THOMAS BRAMELL $10,361.76 $124,341.12 PLEASANTON

ERIC CARLSON $10,271.48 $123,257.76 PLEASANTON

WILLIAM EASTMAN $9,770.95 $117,251.40 PLEASANTON

JOSEPH BUCKOVIC $9,407.05 $112,884.60 PLEASANTON

MICHAEL STJOHN $9,275.80 $111,309.60 PLEASANTON


SEAN CHAPMAN $8,856.90 $106,282.80 PLEASANTON

CARL COUSINEAU $8,821.74 $105,860.88 PLEASANTON


PAUL HELMS $8,691.66 $104,299.92 PLEASANTON

GREGORY WIXOM $8,593.63 $103,123.56 PLEASANTON

STEVEN ROSS $8,583.76 $103,005.12 PLEASANTON

PAUL MOLKENBUHR $8,555.76 $102,669.12 PLEASANTON



My guess is Roush will be near the top of this list once he retires, especially since the Council is voting to give him a raise JUST BEFORE RETIREMENT and MAKING IT RETROACTIVE so he can get an even higher pension. I think this would be a great article for the weekly. Hope they pick this up and be trule informative to our residents on our pensions. On top of this we also have a mostly unfunded liability on retiree medical to the tune of over $100 million! That is just Pleasanton. The Pleasanton School District has a completely unfunded liability of over $11 million in retiree medical. Now with the losses in the pension fund, the taxpayers are on the hook since these retirees have guaranteed income (defined benefit). The retiree medical will also eat us alive since insurance rates keep going up. While the city has a little control at the high end for payout in the end of the next contract, the school district has no cap, and we as taxpayers are on the hook for the medical insurance, no matter what the cost is.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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