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CONTACT ACCT

INFORMATIVE LINKS

Thank You for Visiting.... Welcome to the Home Page of the
ALLIANCE OF CONTRA COSTA TAXPAYERS


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ACCT opposes Measure A, the Contra Costa Community College District's Massive New Bond Measure, on the June 6, 2006 ballot:


CCCCD has been highly irresponsible with the Millions they get already.  They've spent what should have been allocated as maintenance dollars in their general fund for salary and benefit increases.  So now they want  yet another taxpayer bailout -- just 
four years after they passed their last one, under Prop. 39's relaxed tax-and-spend rules, which have assaulted Prop. 13.

Go to our "Vote NO on A!" page.

Read about CCCCD's scandal involving "concurrent enrollment" 
of local high school students in physical education classes
here.

(Adding to an extended list of other scandals, the District was caught padding its flat or sinking enrollment figures with high school students, inflating its apportionment of state taxpayer dollars.)   

Some CCCCD Scandals We Know About:  

B.  Audit finds CCCCD Accounting Department "in disarray" (CC Times, 1/31/98)
C.  CC College President "Candy" Rose -- "no contest" to misusing public funds 
(CC Times, 3/14/98)
D.  CCCCD cuts salary + benefits deal with Candy Rose to end that scandal 
(CC Times, 4/12/98)
E.  DVC Foundation pays $2500 for not reporting bond campaign donation 
(CC Times, 4/28/98)
G.  CCCCD's Fired Chancellor files large benefits claim (CC Times 12/15/04)

H.  CCCCD publishes self-congratulatory, $17,000 report on 2002's Measure A



Feb. 24
2006

 Tax Mechanics Columns, co-authored by ACCT  
 Chairman  Ken Hambrick and by Kris Hunt, the 
 Executive Director of the Contra Costa Taxpayers' 
 Association.

 These excellent columns appeared in the Contra 
 Costa Times
 during 2005 and early 2006, and offer a 
 practical background on tax issues that affect us all. 
 The columns have been suspended for now, as 
 Kris Hunt is running for County Supervisor,  Dist. 4.


  Want to understand why Contra Costa County has a 
  $54 Million budget deficit?  Look no further than the
  out-of-control irresponsibility of County supervisors 
  in arranging outrageous featherbed pension deals
  in 2002 for County unions, despite Grand Jury 
  warnings of the unsustainable costs involved. 

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  As April 15 approaches (and then passes), consider 
  the gigantic growth in federal income taxes that has
  occurred since they were first collected in 1913.
  See the original Form 1040, and realize that the tax  
  rate on taxable incomes up to $20,000 in 1913 
  dollars  -- about $380,000 today -- was only 1%.  
  

 See ACCT's reports on BART's use of  taxpayer 
 dollars to grab more tax dollars.   We believe that  
 a dedicated DA and an honest court would 
 convict BART of illegal use of public funds.



 

Relentless New Tax Drives by Public Agencies

BART, EBRPD, and other spendthrift public agencies have reached the tipping point.   Their out-of-control salary and benefit trajectories cannot be sustained -- and these are already impacting basic services and responsible facility maintenance rightly expected from those agencies.  It's time to call a halt to extortionate new tax campaigns to fund "needs" which developed only because the public agencies have misdirected the money they already receive.  New tax revenues would serve only to reward their bad decisions and make more such problems likely down the road


 Congratulations to Contra Costa voters 
 on seeing through 2004's BAD Tax scheme! 
  

 Weighted votes defeated what in our view was an illegal 
 measure from the outset -- 

 No: 49.88%  | Yes: 46.20%

 Official Results Available here  (PDF File)


Public-sector corollary to Parkinson's Law:  

    "Unit costs of public services tend to increase to 
      consume the available funding."


    "Public choice theory teaches us that there is an inherent bias toward 
    more spending on behalf of special interests in today's government.    
    The benefits of more spending are usually concentrated on a few players 
    who have an enormous incentive to spend time and money lobbying for 
    it.  The costs of such programs are spread out over many millions of 
    taxpayers who simply don't have the incentive to take time away from 
    jobs and families for an organized fight against spending.  The result: 
    Government keeps growing."  -- Wall Street Journal, 4/20/98


 GREAT NEWS:   The California Teachers Association and Rob Reiner (aka 
 "Meathead" on All in the Family) have withdrawn their "split roll" measure,
 designed to attack Prop. 13's limits on property taxation, after spending 
 millions and collecting enough signatures to qualify the measure.  See why


 INTAXICATION (In·tax·i·ca·tion, in·taks·si·kā·shan):  Euphoria at getting a  
 tax refund, which  lasts until you realize that it was your money to start with, 
 that it means you overpaid on withholding, and that tax-consuming agencies 
 have been drawing interest on YOUR MONEY. 

 Taxes have reached confiscatory, destructive levels -- diminishing the  
 motivation of would-be entrepreneurs to start job-creating new businesses, 
 and damaging the day-to-day needs of middle class families...

  "Americans spend more money per capita [per person ! ] on taxes ($10,447) 
 than on food ($2,713), clothing ($1,436), and shelter ($5,913) combined"  
 [San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2002].  As was taught in grade school 
 once
upon a time: food, clothing, and shelter are the basic necessities of life.   

Contra Costa Supervisors Are Mortgaging County's Future

The Facts About California's Tax Climate [Tax Foundation Report]

Public Payroll Explodes -- Compensation Far above Private Sector -- LA Daily News

ACCT Chairman Ken Hambrick on Contra Costa Supervisors' Costly Pension Giveaway

Public-private pay gap -- Contra Costa Times, 04-04-04
"There is no better example of one-sided labor agreements than in Contra Costa, 
where supervisors routinely ignore the taxpayers and cave in to union demands. 
They never explain why public workers need to get so much more in pay and 
benefits than private-sector workers, even in a tight job market."

Leftist State Senator, Assisting Campaign Donor, Influences Retirement Board  Contra Costa Times, 04-04-04-- "State Sen. Tom Torlakson successfully lobbied 
Contra Costa retirement officials to award a contract to a firm with limited experience 
that had given him thousands of dollars in campaign contributions."

Regional Measure 2 Went to Ballot Despite Sponsors' Knowledge of Illegality "Under U.S. law, a highway bridge that receives even one federal dollar cannot use toll money to pay bus drivers, buy ferry fuel or cover any of the costs of transit service."

   So when is enough... enough?   
   Answer: If taxpayers let them, 
   the tax promoters will gladly 
   take ALL YOU HAVE -- to spend 
   on themselves, and to buy votes 
   from their special-interest pals.  
   It's more important than ever 
   to resist unreasonable new 
   taxes -- especially now, in 
   uncertain economic times. 

     "Public choice theory teaches us that there is an inherent bias toward 
      more spending on behalf of special interests in today's government.
      The benefits of more spending are usually concentrated on a few 
      players who have an enormous incentive to spend time and money
      lobbying for it.  The costs of such programs are spread out over many
      millions of taxpayers who simply don't have the incentive to take time
      away from jobs and families for an organized fight against spending. 
      The result: Government keeps growing." - Wall Street Journal, 4/20/98


Newsflashes!


CAL-TAX Lists California's 2003 Tax and Fee Attacks on Taxpayers

   See the California Taxpayers' Association Listing of 2003's tax and fee 
   threats (including numerous potential assaults on Prop. 13) aimed at  
   California's already overburdened taxpayers by Statehouse politicians,  
   anxious to use your money to buy themselves votes.  

  "We're already beleaguered with the level of debts we're carrying now." 
   -- Kathleen Connell, Outgoing State Controller, Democrat, 2002

  "California is a great place to run a small business.  All you have to do is start
   with a very large business."
-- Tom McClintock, State Senator, Republican 


   Grand Jury Reports on Fiscal Irresponsibility in Contra Costa Government
   
(Click your browser's "BACK" arrow to return to this site):

   County Ignores Retiree Health Costs -- The Financial Tidal Wave (2006)
   County Outspends Income Four Years in a Row (2006)
   Grand Jury Asks:  "Is B.A.D. Good?" (2005)
   First 5 Decisions Demand Transparency (2005)
   Code Blue:  County Health Care Costs (2005)
   Reduce Pension Tension (2005) 
   Take Action Now to Reduce Costs of Retiree Health Insurance (2004) 
   County’s History of Paying High Workers’ Compensation Benefits (2004) 
   Budget Woes and Layoffs: Contributions of Pension Improvements (2004)           
   Employee Benefits Threaten County's Financial Stability (2003) 
   (See also ACCT Chairman's commentary on Supervisors' Irresponsibility)
   County Redevelopment Agency and Pleasant Hill BART Village (2003)
   Outrageous Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District Compensation (2003)
   County Employees' Retirement Assn -- County Finances in Jeopardy (2002)
   Contra Costa County Employee Numbers Growing Far Too Fast (2002) 
   Mt. Diablo Health Care District -- Still Needed? (2001)
   Health Services Department Financial Management Out of Control (2001)
   County's Excessive Use of Consultants (2001)
   Where Have All the Hospitals Gone? (2001)
   

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  League of Women Voters, Promoter of Local Tax Increases, 
   Receives $$$ from Public Agencies Sponsoring the Same 
   Tax-Increase Measures.


  ACCT discovered in 2002 that the
League of Women Voters had received 
  $9,102 from the Bay Area Rapid Transit District during 2001-2002
to help 
  the allegedly "non-partisan" League publish its allegedly "impartial" 
  Bay Area Monitor
newsletter, sent six
times per year to "approximately 
  3700 key decision makers in the Bay Area."

  It's a cozy arrangement.  The League of Women Voters signed BART's  
  ballot argument for Measure BB, a massive
$1.05 BILLION bond initiative
  that appeared on the November 5, 2002 ballot -- and has now signed ballot 
  arguments favoring passage of Regional Measure 2, a $1 bridge-toll increase 
  with 89% of the proceeds going to transit systems.     Fortunately, Measure BB
  was defeated at the polls -- and we hope the same fate awaits RM2.

  ACCT learned earlier in 2002 that the East Bay Regional Park District has 
  made annual payments of $7,000 in taxpayer
 funds to League of Women 
  Voters
, also to assist in publication of the Bay Area Monitor newsletter.  

  The February-March, 2002  issue of LWV's Monitor promoted EBRPD's 
  outrageous Measure K scheme, with no mention of arguments against the 
  measure.    EBRPD and BART turn out to be two out of ten publicly funded
  agencies providing tax dollars for LWV's Monitor.  

  Now, LWV appears as a signatory to ballot arguments supporting Regional
  Measure 2, the $1 bridge-toll increase that will appear on the March 2, 2004
  ballot.  Though 89% of the revenues from this scheme would support transit-
  related projects and subsidies, auto commuters would pay all of RM2.  
  The League of Women Voters, a recipient of sizable funding from two
  or more of the transit-agency beneficiaries of RM2's spending plans, ought 
  to declare publicly its obvious conflict of interest.    

  At best, in our considered view, such payments represent an unethical 
  use of public funds -- payments of tax dollars by public agencies to a 
  private entity, which then uses its generally respected position to promote 
  tax measures introduced by these already bloated public agencies.  


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  Help us fight back against unreasonable new taxes!!
     Many or most Contra Costa taxpayers already pay out 50% or 
more
in taxes on their next dollar earned.  That's far too much now.

 


CONTACT ACCT

INFORMATIVE LINKS

We Changed Our Address

This ACCT website once had a different URL address.  We initiated a change to avoid confusion among visitors to that previous address.  A local activist named Brad Senden -- or more specifically, "Political Designs," one of his companies -- registered a web address similar to the one we used previously, then posted a crude denunciation of ACCT at the site.  

In our belief, Senden's local activities represent a compromising conflict of interest.  On one hand, he operates the "Center for Community Opinion," a polling agency which Senden presumably wants to be regarded as objective, and which seems to have a concentration of public-agency clients.

On the other hand, Senden acts through "Political Designs" as a paid campaign consultant, assisting public agencies in passing new tax measures.  We wonder:  which is it -- objective pollster, or determined campaign agent?

Senden was not identified in either of these dual roles in an October 6, 2000 letter to the editor intended to support a push for new, unneeded library taxes -- after Senden had acted as a pollster for the County's Library District, when it geared up for what became Measure L.  In the editorial letter, "Dr. J. Bradford Senden" attempted to insult opponents to such taxes as allegedly needing "help making logical debating points and building cogent arguments."  No thanks, Dr. Senden;  we'll manage somehow on our own.



                               Outsourcing of Library Administration

 Seven years ago, ACCT's management consultants offered a no-fee, 
 detailed examination of Contra Costa County's budget to find more
 dollars for libraries.  This process would  require a number of 
 months -- but County authorities had no interest in having   
 the budget's working papers and other internal details examined 
 closely suggested.  ACCT has continued to suggest alternatives to 
 new taxes.  One of these is  ... outsourcing.


 There's a better way than new taxes -- a proven way -- to provide
 for improved library services.  That better way is OUTSOURCING.

 Riverside County, serving a population slightly larger than Contra
 Costa County's, operates its libraries for less than half of what
 Contra  Costa County spends currently.  Library Systems and
 Services, an  outsourcing firm, improved library hours and raised
 the new materials  budget without raising costs.

 The online record is not complete -- but several sources help tell
 this important story:

 "Riverside County Libraries Shelve Old Ways: County is first in nation 
  to hire private firm to manage system," Cal-Tax Digest (Sept., 1999)

 "Outsourcing: can it work for you?" (3M Library Systems)

 "Award-Winning Library Director Tapped As Vice President for LSSI 
  West Coast Operations"


 Even the American Library Association has had to admit 
 (grudgingly) that outsourcing of Library administration has 
 been a success in Riverside County.   See
"Outsourcing of   
 Management,from "The Impact of Outsourcing and Privatization 
 on Library Services and  Management.


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  AN INTRODUCTION TO ACCT

 ACCT -- the Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers affirms, 
 supports, and defends the interests and concerns of individual 
 taxpayers -- who wind up paying the taxes that special-interest
 groups finagle from vote-buying politicians, or that some tax-
 supportive corporations simply pass on to customers in the 
 form of higher prices.   Meanwhile, for individual taxpayers....

 From hidden phone surcharges to Bay Bridge tolls originally
 promised to end in 1956, new taxes keep eroding income.

 Taxes now consume 33.9% of California incomes1 —and 50%
 or more of the next dollar earned by many East Bay families.2

 On average, state and local governments alone consume $3,500
 per person annually in California.  And Californians' "Tax Freedom
 Day" didn't come until May 3rd this year -- meaning that those of
 us working labored from January 1 to May 3 just to pay taxes !
3

 Stung by Prop. 13 in 1978, the tax consumers have resorted 
 to new special-district assessments, user fees, and other 
 schemes  that have now returned state and local taxes as a 
 percentage of personal income back to pre-Prop. 13 levels.4

 And with Prop.  39 having passed, the tax promoters have only 
 just begun!

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 The Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers is a group of affiliated  
 organizations and individuals with a unified interest in requiring  
 maximal efficiency in local government -- that is, truly needed and 
 appropriate
services (only) at the lowest costs.

 In contrast, we find many recent local tax measures have cost
  TOO MANY DOLLARS while making TOO LITTLE SENSE!    

             ACCT will oppose such excesses.    wpe1D.jpg (3858 bytes) 

1 "A Surprise for Taxpayers in Some "Low Tax" States: Minus the Federal
    Taxes, They're Actually 'High Tax' States" -- from the Tax Foundation.

2  
Applying federal income tax bracket at 28% (and many families are in
     39% bracket), Social Security and Medicare taxes at 15.3% (7.65% by
     employer or all personally if self-employed), state income taxes at 7%
     -- and that's before we get to property taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes,
     phone taxes, etc., etc.

3  California Taxpayers' Association and Tax Foundation

4  "Taxing California - 1995-96 State, Local, and Federal Tax Burden:
    Rising Cost of Government" (Sept. '99) California Taxpayers' Association


An Introduction to This Site

 This website will present the case for rejection of  unreasonable taxes with 
 as much information as can be obtained and then transcribed or scanned.   We 
 do not employ a public relation
s & technology director. Nor do we have available 
 tens of thousands of
dollars in campaign contributions by county contractors or 
 tax-exempt organizations


 So  we'll do our best after normal working schedules to keep these pages 
  updated,  adding new material as it becomes available.

 It is our intention to present the facts about taxes and their underlying fiscal realities, 
 free
of the customary spin applied by the tax promoters and their political allies.  
 
We will reveal elements of the tax-issue story that you won't hear elsewhere.

      Please join us in opposing unreasonable taxes

                                                    Technical Notes:  

  1. Pages included in our ACCT website were designed with Microsoft's FrontPage 2000.  Unfortunately, FrontPage appears to result in some odd
    text dislocations and other problems.  So far, we we find that recent 
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    above is automatically enabled (so far) in recent versions of MS Explorer.  
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    by moving the mouse cursor to the bottom of your screen.

  1. Download time for pages with photographs and charts may require 
    patience; but we think the information presented will be well-worth your 
    while; here, the old cliche about a picture and thousand words really does 
    apply !  After the first download, and depending on cache capacity, you may 
    have an easier (and faster) time accessing the same page later.

  1. We'll appreciate constructive suggestions that viewers may want to forward regarding possible improvements in site characteristics or regarding additional information that you would like to see presented..  See "CONTACT US" page.



This page was last updated on 07/04/06