Monday, August 4, 2008

Crystal Ball Says: Higher Taxes For Oakland

Ok, I admit it. My "crystal ball" consists of an old Coke can wrapped in a piece of paper that says "taxes will rise."

I agree with V Smoothe that this summer has been a pretty bleak time for Oakland, but I'm going to go ahead and address our taxation future.

I do this as a public service to help my readers discern their financial future, even as Oakland resolutely refuses to plan rationally for its own.

We all know that Mayor Dellums intimated that the city's budget deficit will likely exceed the May suggestion of $15M. I don't put a whole lot of stock in this figure, or any numbers that come out of the city. I think it's fair to say that the deficit will be "a lot," and that the city will be completely unwilling to cut any of its silly pet projects to pay for necessary services.

A government's only real source of income is taxation. Cities can't run deficits, ours won't cut its budget, so the only thing left is our checking accounts.

True to form, the city council hastily called an emergency meeting for last Wednesday to discuss taxing us more.

They definitely want to place a parcel tax on the ballot for more cops, a measure which I don't really oppose since parcel taxes are regressive.

The other item on the agenda was the "Kids First" initiative. I was going to go look up what that is, but then I got kind of bummed out and decided not to.

The thing that bummed me out was this article in the Oakland Tribune about another $120 parcel tax headed for the ballot. This one is for teacher pay. Interestingly, the Oakland teachers' union opposes it, which suggests to me that they have some cleverer trick up their sleeve to bilk us out of still more money later.

Let me remind readers that the only time in my memory a parcel tax actually failed was the one to convert the Kaiser convention center to a main library. Everything else passes. Always.

So, get ready for some nice juicy property tax hikes. I am glad that all the proposals seem to be regressive, so in some senses I might come out on top here. But, it would be still nicer to see our government look for places to cut.

1 comment:

  1. Why I sadly left Oakland as a 4th generation Oaklander. I just can't justify spending thousands more in prop taxes for a bloated gov't. just move south to San Leandro, where you actually have a responsive police force and gov't for less $$.