It is one of the eternal quirks of public officials that when they choose not to spend money — money that they don’t have — they always pat themselves on the back for having “saved” it.
Chula Vista just took this to a whole new level. The city is so desperate for cash they have mailed ballots to residents and pled with them to approve an emergency sales tax increase without which city officials say they’ll have to cut sensitive city services.
The police have been calling residents at their homes warning of the pain and public safety hazard that they will face if they reject the sales tax. This comes, of course, after the state just implemented its own emergency increase to the sales tax for everyone.
Amid all of this, the city has agreed to give its police and firefighters comparatively healthy, guaranteed, across-the-board salary increases for each of the next five years.
Lani Lutar, the CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, passed along copies of the most recent agreements that Chula Vista officials signed with their employee groups. The public safety raises are set in stone. Well, as durable of stones as a nearly bankrupt city can find.
As things stand, even if voters approve the sales tax increase, the city’s mounting liabilities will force it to lay off 40 employees. And these aren’t just government “layoffs” where the people actually just transfer to other departments with vacant positions. No, these are real pink slips handed to people who probably would be OK not getting a raise at all.