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Rewarding financial mismangement with Proposition H Lani Lutar | Sat, Oct 16 2010 12:00 PM

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association urges voters to reject Proposition H in the city of Chula Vista. Here are just a few of the many reasons:

Prop H increases taxes. If you live in Chula Vista and use a cell phone, pager, make toll-free, interstate or international telephone calls, or use wireless internet access, you will likely pay more in taxes if Prop. H is approved. With an ailing local economy, record foreclosures, and the city struggling to retain and attract businesses and jobs, the last thing Chula Vista needs is another tax on residents and businesses.

Prop H rewards fiscal irresponsibility. The City of Chula Vista has repeatedly failed to demonstrate fiscal responsibility-asking for tax increases to fix problems better solved by reforming its budget. The city spent $255,000 on a special election last year in which voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed 1 percent sales tax increase. Now they are back again, claiming Prop H is needed to avoid cutbacks in city services. The city needs to tighten its own belt before asking voters to cough up more dollars for their fiscal irresponsibility.

Prop H does not set aside one dime for essential services like public safety, streets, parks, or libraries. Instead, it can go to paying employee pension costs that have increased by over 190 percent. While other cities across San Diego County are reforming their pension systems and saving millions, most Chula Vista employees pay nothing toward their pensions. The city could have saved over $7 million last year-27 times what Prop H will generate- just by having employees contribute their fair share to their own pensions.

Prop H is intentionally misleading. Prop H is a tax increase, plain and simple, but the official ballot question the city wrote deceptively tells voters there will be "no rate increase." The city carefully buried the truth that Prop H expands the Utility Users Tax to include a whole range of additional services - from cell phones to wireless internet access-services that no other city in San Diego County currently taxes.

Prop H sets a dangerous precedent for the entire region. If Prop H passes, other cities will follow with similar attempts to establish or expand their Utility Users Taxes in the same way that Chula Vista's recently proposed "crash tax" spread like wildfire, threatening victims of auto accidents with a "fee" to respond to their emergency. Residents throughout San Diego County should be aware that if Prop H passes in Chula Vista, their city could very well be next.

As the San Diego County Taxpayers Association said in opposing Prop H, Chula Vista "continues to fail to demonstrate sufficient fiscal responsibility to request additional revenue from taxpayers." The Prop H ballot language "does not properly convey to taxpayers the true implications of the measure, which is approval of a tax increase."

Lutar is president and chief executive officer of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

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Ed Hererra Says:

Sat, Oct 16 2010 08:18 AM

Vote Yes on Prop H. Save City Services

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