Coalition Recommends Voting Yes on N
The Glendale Coalition for Better Government is a nonpartisan group of Glendale residents who advocate for local fiscal responsibility and transparent government. The coalition is not affiliated with any other organization.
What is Measure N about?
Measure N is a ballot initiative to repeal the Utility User Tax that all Glendale residents currently pay. If you look at your utility bill, (Water, Power, Gas) You will see a 7% Utility users tax. If you vote Yes on N, the City will stop charging you the 7% tax that you currently pay. A Yes on N will immediately save you 7% on all your utility bills. That’s $91 per person in your house per year. For a household of 4 that’s a savings of $364.00 per year. What is more important is this measure will stop the city from wasting taxpayer dollars.
Call (818)464-3772 and leave a message with your name and address to have a lawn sign delivered to you.
I did not know I can vote to stop paying taxes!
Certain taxes you can vote to stop paying, but the city will never give you that chance by themselves. They validate their argument by saying this is a long standing tax. But they fail to recognize your right to repeal it. The city believes that once a taxpayer agrees to tax themselves, they must continue to do so forever for all generations to come. In fact your parents may have agreed to pay this tax and there may have been valid reasons at that time. Should you not be given the chance to re-evaluate that need at this time? The fact that city management would validate their argument that this tax must stay because its longstanding is a failure to recognize your rights and a reflection of their sense of entitlement. By voting Yes on N you tell the city you decide when you want to tax yourself and they should not take your tax money for granted.
I hear the city saying this will hurt city services.
It is unfortunate that the city does not have a proactive can-do attitude on saving the taxpayers money and providing services competitively. They present a single draconian scenario of cuts designed to make you vote out of fear. The position presented by the city is the worst option out of many options available to reduce expenses. However by focusing on your fear and presenting the worst option as the only option, they expect you to vote out of fear and not out of knowledge.
In any other service industry, you have multiple businesses competing for your business/money by trying to provide more value, better service for less cost. We all know that competition in business is good for consumers because it forces innovation, creative solutions, and choice to the consumer.
The city does not need to compete because you, the tax payer, is a captive customer. It is not forced to innovate or come up with new more efficient solutions. They have a monopoly on you. You can’t just switch cities. So instead of competing to deliver the best service, they tell you if you don’t pay us all we want, we will cut your services. Just like a monopoly will do. So you, the taxpayer, can play the victim and succumb, or can rise up and tighten the purse. By voting Yes on N, you tell the city to respect your hard earned tax dollars and demand the city deliver results without wasting your money.
So how do you force city management to compete, innovate and become efficient?
Glendale History teaches us that when forced with budget cuts, Glendale comes thru in flying colors. In 2008 Glendale lost the redevelopment money and as a result cut 406 employees. By 2013 Glendale had approximately 1550 employees when it used to have almost 2000 employees. But time and time again, council members took pride that despite the reduced level of employees, Glendale continued to receive the same level of service. Which brings up the question as to why did we have so many excess employees in 2008 in the first place? And how much more excess employees do we still have?
The fact is when the city does not have to compete in providing service, and the taxpayer is a captive customer, there is no incentive to be efficient. The need to compete and innovate to become efficient must be forced upon the city. Otherwise the easy way out is to keep charging the captive customers, the taxpayer, more and more.
A more recent example of forced innovation and competitiveness is the very recent elimination of retired employee heath benefits. In October 2015, City council eliminated $229 million in unfunded OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits). Why did the city management and city council decide in 2015 to eliminate the OPEB? Bear in mind that the OPEB kept rising each year from from $109 Million in 2009 to $229 million in 2014. Well in 2016 the Governmental Accounting Standards Board updated the rules requiring unfunded liabilities to be listed as an accounting item on the Comprehensive Annual Financial report. Failure to comply with the new GASB rules will result in Glendale losing $50 million in Federal grants. Listing the unfunded liability on the CAFR will impact how Glendale can borrow money and how much it will have to pay for bonds. (see staff report page 4 middle 2 paragraphs)
So with a strike of the pen, they just eliminated $229 million in unfunded OPEB. It turns out there was no legal requirement for the city to provide all this Other Post Employment Benefits in the first place. It was just a freebie given away to employees at the taxpayer expense.
Through the power of funding, the taxpayer can dictate, just like the federal government, to reform city government. The city employee’s have a vested interest in maximizing their own benefits at taxpayer expense. Without external pressure on city management, there is simply no incentive to improve. Taxpayers need to let the city know they expect proactive performance and not last minute damage control. City managements needs to understand that the taxpayers expects the best value. Yes on N will hold city management accountable to taxpayers and their hard earned money.
Don’t take our word for it, see the salary and benefit being spent, http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2014/glendale/