Supervisors plot new sales tax for Contra Costa taxpayers

“Just when you thought it was safe to swim in the water” the jaws of “progressive” politicians want to swallow another chunk of their constituent’s check books to impose a new health care tax.

Fresh off the defeat on the Measure Bond Measure C which would have burdened Richmond property owners with a new parcel tax to fund construction of a new hospital, 1st District Supervisor John Gioia in a memo posted on his web site dated May 22nd stated:

supervisor-gioia“I appreciate the efforts of the community and the hospital’s employees to keep the hospital open. I look forward to working with the community to pass a countywide sales tax measure to bring badly needed new revenue to support Doctor’s Hospital and other vital programs in our County.”

Doctors Hospital, with its clientele primarily of low income and uninsured people has been struggling since it filed for bankruptcy in 2006.   Since then the County and The West Contra Costa Healthcare District has been able to bring in some 70 million dollars from different funding sources to cut Doctors Hospital losses from 36 million to 18 million per year.

In addition voters in Richmond passed a parcel tax in 2011 to raise 5 million dollars per year.  Apparently, this wasn’t enough as Measure C would have imposed 4 times more expenditures for property owners that  already have the highest levels of underwater mortgages in the Bay Area.

In reviewing this failed Richmond measure, it is interesting to note who funded it. The three largest contributors to the “Yes on C” campaign were the Pomo Casino Indians, Kaiser Hospital, and various labor unions. This group which outspent their opponents by at least 6 to 1 would seem to have some hidden agendas, to wit:

  • The Pomo group hoped to demolish DMC and construct a new Casino on the site. These tribes, most of whom already receive free government health care—until Obamacare cuts them off, would hardly concern themselves with the welfare of the locals.
  • Kaiser Permanente supported Measure C because if Doctor’s Hospital closes, they will receive the brunt of non or low revenue generating clients on government assistance especially impacting its crowded emergency room services in Richmond.
  • Unions naturally supported Measure C as their members would benefit from the construction of a new Hospital, keeping existing jobs, plus a possible bonus project should the Indian Casino ever be built.

One question that was never answered by Measure C supporters was why was not a less costly retrofit of the old hospital considered rather than building a new facility that would have cost approximately 4 times that amount?

Union files complaint over closure of Doctors HospitalRealizing that they have “gone to well” to many times, Supervisor Gioia has decided to ask Contra Costa voters to ante up higher sales tax for propping up Doctor’s and other hospitals that depend on limited revenue from State and Federal programs for those unable to pay for medical services.  Added to his proposed sales tax increase  are a few public safety measure crumbs thrown in to gain support from voters from other parts of the County.

In his mind Alameda County has a dedicated sales tax for this purpose so naturally Gioia thinks Contra Costa should follow suit.

Before the measure could be put before voters it would have to gain approval from the County Board of Supervisors at their June 3rd meeting.  If there is sufficient  interest  it is believed  they would commission a poll to see if there is widespread support for such a proposal

Another problem to be overcome is that several cities in Contra Costa are already at the maximum sales tax rate that can be charged. For this to be increased, the State Legislature would have to intervene. Thinking ahead Supervisor Gioia has enlisted the assistance of progressive Assemblywomen Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) to sponsor a bill that would raise the sales tax cap throughout the entire county.

The only thing that Gioia has his buddies have forgotten are the voters who reside outside the city limits of Richmond. One reason these folks carry such high sales tax loads is that they have had to raise money locally to replace revenue taken away by the State from redevelopment and to balance their budget deficits going back to 2008.

Is it possible that communities who struggle to fix pot holes and pay for basic infrastructure needs don’t want to bail out another failing government healthcare program?

Also to be considered is that with the Affordable Care Act being less than affordable for the wealthy and middle class, why would these people want to take on another burden though increasing their already high sales tax rates?   Many of these individuals are already complaining that their higher medical premiums are subsidizing the poor and uninsured. If  the majority of this group does not support Obama Care, what might they think of this one?  The answer is a resounding “no”!

In all likelihood John Gioia’s proposal will not gain too much traction in gaining support throughout the county. There are too many “grass roots” interests that would bury his sales tax increase in November. One wonders if these ultra liberal politicians possibly know how out of touch they are with their constituents?

asseblymember nancy skinnerOn one hand they see how progressives such as Mark DeSaulnier, Susan Bonilla, Loni Hancock, and Nancy Skinner get elected with virtually no opposition. This feeling of invincibility is further augmented by the fact that there are no Republicans holding any State offices or seats in the Legislature from the Bay Area.

While these facts tend to support the notion that liberal democrats are basically omnipotent, the natives in the cities are becoming increasingly restless by the arrogance  and non-accountability in State Government of wasting valuable resources at the expense of local communities.

Perhaps a revolt on the part of citizens who oppose the jaws of government from imposing any more new health care taxes will be a wake-up call for progressive political leaders?  They may also learn this November that it may be necessary to start governing more from the middle or risk losing many of their followers.

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Comments

  1. primo says

    Vote NO NO NO on new taxes
    and vote NO NO NO on co co co supervisors re-election and desaulinter as well

  2. Dan Romero says

    Is Supervisor Gioia trying to protect his name and reputation with this new sales tax? Will Supervisor Gioia explain why as a board director of West County Medical board he approved loans with Certificates of Participation on the 2004 and 2010 parcel taxes to keep Doctors Hospital open? Also will Assemblywoman Skinner explain how she ask the State of California to guarantee these Certificates of Participation without disclosing the risk to the legislature which approved SB 644. Could it be that the hospital district and John Gioia are desperate to keep the hospital open… not because lives will be lost but because if the hospital files bankruptcy and closes, the bankruptcy trustee will disallow the lien on the 2004 parcel tax. This would mean that the district will not be able to continue the 2004 parcel tax levy after the hospital closes, thus causing the healthcare district to default on the Certificates of Participation. Politically, this will look bad.

  3. Stephen Williams says

    Simply UNBELIEVABLE! Supervisor Gioia apparently wants the residents of Contra Costa County, WHO ARE NOT SERVED BY THIS HOSPITAL DISTRICT, to pony up and support an area of the county that they have no interest in. How about the residents of Richmond kicking in to pay more sales tax to bolster the ANTIOCH POLICE DEPARTMENT???? That’s the logic being used here, have residents of other communities pay to support community services that are enjoyed EXCLUSIVELY by residents of another area of the county. JUST SAY NO! Please contact your respective Supervisor if you live outside the West Contra Costa Healthcare District and tell him or her, to SAY NO to Supervisor Gioia’s proposal. Enough is enough!

    • says

      Whoever told you that revenues from such a tax would solely go to West County or DMC or “those people” in Richmond is mistaken.

      Revenues will be used for good and/or wasted throughout the County. Remember there will be five Supervisors representing five districts and not one will allow some $160M to be all spent in one place.

      If a tax gets on the ballot and if it is passed, then the Supervisors with some citizen oversight committee (at least) will be in the spotlight to make it count.

      It is far more aggregious to see the county go behind voters backs after they defeated Measure C, and tax increases for east county fire and the troubles of confire to find some other way to throw money at these failures without real structural change in their unsustainable costs, mismanagement and perks that is sapping the ability of not only the county but our communities to help the most needy.

  4. Richard Colman says

    Overtaxed is the way to describe Contra Costa County, California, and the United States. Here’s a list of new taxes passed in the last 1-1/2 years::

    (1) January 1., 2013: Higher federal taxes for Obamacare.

    (2) January 1, 2013: Higher federal taxes under the federal Fiscal Cliff agreement.

    (3) November 2012: California passed Proposition 30. Thus proposiiton increased the California sales tax (statewide) by 0.25 percentage points. Before Proposition 30 passed, California had the highest sales tax in the nation. Now, that sales tax is even higher. Proposition 30 also gave California highest top personal income-tax bracket in the nation: 13.3%.

    (4) May 2014: A measure raising the property tax for residents of the Acalanes Union High School District passed. The district covers Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and part of Walnut Creek..

    Tell politicians this: NO MORE TAXES!