One of the most effective ways to put runaway local government on a leash is to restrict its funding. After all, and as one poster here has put it more than once, without our tax money City Hall is just another small group of people with unimportant opinions. It is our money that pays for their lawyers, staff, consultants, planners, benefits, Diet Pepsi and whatever else they require to impose upon the rest of us their unpopular and oftentimes ruinous beliefs about what Sierra Madre should become.
That this potential destruction of our community is being enabled with our own hard-earned cash is infuriating. As Kurt Zimmerman used to put it, we are being forced to pay for the bullet that they'll use to shoot us. It is not democracy, and it is not what people here want. It is the tyranny of big outside money enabled by a complicit City Staff that doesn't seem to give a damn about this community. And why should they? Most of them don't even live here.
Ask yourself this. Do you support resident control over important things like the planning of our community? Then why would you willingly give your money to people who are trying to take that very thing away?
Is the solution to starve them out? If we take away that utility tax money will their power dissipate, along with their ability to enable the McMansion Archipelago? I personally believe so. There is just too much at stake. Expecting the situation to change when we just keep doing the same things being a variation on Einstein's definition of insanity.
Which is why I find the following description of the UUT situation in Arcadia particularly intriguing.
California Tax Revolt: Voters Put Tax Repeal on 2015 Ballot: May 29, 2014 by Susan Swift (link) − Fed up with out-of-control government and rising taxes, Californians have turned to the state’s initiative process. Residents of the City of Arcadia recently gathered enough signatures to qualify a local initiative to repeal the city’s User Utility Tax (“UUT”). Arcadia’s UUT generates over $7 million dollars annually, or just under 10% of the city’s budget for fiscal year 2014-2015.
The measure will come before the Arcadia City Council on June 3rd for action. Under state law, the council must either adopt the measure without modification or place it on the next city ballot, which will likely be in 2015.
The UUT is a local tax on most utilities including water, power, gas, cable, cell phone, satellite dishes and telephone services. As utilities increase their rates for these services, the city’s UUT tax also increases, providing a hidden, built-in boost to the city’s general fund. This hidden tax occurs automatically, without approval from voters or city council.
Citizens in four California cities, Arcadia, South Pasadena, Pasadena and Glendale, formed local Tax Limitation Committees to repeal their respective UUTs with the help of TeaPAC and the California Tax Limitation Committee (“CTLC“). CTLC is a political action committee formed by concerned individuals, business owners and professionals to inform the public about the impact of taxes. Committees are also forming in Sierra Madre, San Marino, Riverside, and the City of Los Angeles.
Others will follow soon.
I can't wait to see how this Arcadia situation works out. I also know that this utility tax abolition initiative movement will be quite controversial in certain quarters here. Both because of who is behind it and what exactly the various parties hope to achieve.
Which is more than fine with me. It is a powder keg of an issue. We here at The Tattler enjoy that sort of thing.
And there is one thing for certain. This conversation needs to take place. Because Sierra Madre is next on the No UUT hit list.