Welcome to the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group (CSCTG)!
The purpose of the CSCTG is to establish a volunteer, politically non-partisan, organization of citizen taxpayers in Central Solano County. We are located in the City of Fairfield, CA.
The organization has two main objectives:
✰ Reducing the burden of taxes
✰ Advocating open and efficient government
Notice of upcoming events
Our Next Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group meeting begins at 12 a.m. Friday, April 13th at the Benicia Grill II, 2390 N. Texas St. Members and guests are invited for lunch from 11 – 12:00.
CSCTG Tax Watchers “In The News”
Article from The Daily Republic published March 3rd.
Solano Voices: Developers try to pull a fast one in Green Valley By Murray Bass, CSCTG Member.
This column is about quality of life and the struggle of Solano County residents to preserve it. It centers around the development of Middle Green Valley and the fight to prevent illegal
development in Rockville Corners.
About 50 years ago (about 10 years after Green Valley was created) the city of Fairfield proposed extension of a sewer line into Middle Green Valley. In order to protect their quality of life from explosive development, the Green Valley Landowners Association was formed to oppose the sewer line into Middle Green Valley. They were successful for 40 years.
Ten years ago, they agreed to limited development in Middle Green Valley but not to the extension of a sewer line into the valley. They successfully protected the quality of life of the residents of Upper Green Valley.
About 10 years ago, voters approved the county’s General Plan. Solano County supervisors courageously opined that sewers would be better than septic tanks in Middle Green Valley.
Not a requirement, rather a meaningless observation. But, in effect, the supervisors approved development of Middle Green Valley.
Neither the homeowners association nor the Board of Supervisors speak for the Rockville Corners homeowners.
For 10 years, the homeowners association has been fighting its own fight in the courts to preserve their quality of life and won. Supervisor Jim Spering’s recent column in the Daily
Republic was designed to create the impression that all septic tanks are bad and fail frequently, ergo an immediate threat to public health and safety and a reason to change the charter without state legislative support. Even if we assume that Mr. Spering actually believes what he wrote, he could easily have discovered that there are no failing septic tanks spreading disease throughout the county.
All of Green Valley is on septic tanks with no failures causing the creation of “uninhabitable residences.” Developers of Middle Green Valley are proposing a change in the Fairfield-
Suisun Sewer District’s charter, which would vacate the winning decision of the Rockville Homeowners Association.
Mr. Spering attended a meeting of the Rockville Corners Homeowners Association and told them that landowners have a right to develop their land. As if it were an entitlement. Not true. Acquiring land for development is speculative and its development depends on many things. Not the least of which is whether it will violate the rights of others and the law.
Clearly knowing full well the history of homeowners’ fight to preserve their quality of life, Mr. Spering appeared to be representing the developers rather than his constituents. I think it is legitimate to ask why. If he is unable or unwilling to represent his constituents, he should resign and make room for someone who can and will. I would welcome his response in another Daily Republic column.
To the sewer district, the septic tank health and safety “problem” is a fiction. To take any action based on that premise will subject the district to countless lawsuits. To make any changes in the charter that would negate the Rockville Corners court decision will expose the district to at least one lawsuit. To make any change in the charter that’s so general it would permit development of land that is currently protected will expose the district to more lawsuits.
The folks who are asking for changes in the charter will push the envelope at the district’s expense.
As Gary Falati said, “This is not a sewer issue, it is a land-use issue.”
One last point: The developers claim there will be no cost to the district. The only way that would be true is if the district requires prepayment of the cost to bring the service to Middle Green Valley up front. Revenue will not be generated until and unless homes are built and perhaps occupied. It will not pay for itself.
If the sewer district does not do that, it is looking at more ratepayer lawsuits and taxpayer group lawsuits. Good luck.
The Tax Watchers Column: Daily Republic Feb 17th.
Blurry line between citizenship, voting rights By Colleen Britton
What are your thoughts? The “right of citizens of the United States to vote,” is a phrase used in five Amendments to our U.S. Constitution.
Is that right reserved for U.S. citizens? It seems pretty straightforward: the right to vote is reserved for people either born in this country, or naturalized citizens. But that line has been blurred by more recent federal and state laws, and by laws not enforced.
For example, 18 U.S. Code § 611 states that it shall be unlawful for any alien to vote in any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of president, vice president, member of the Senate, member of the House of Representatives, unless the election is held partly for some other purpose. Aliens are authorized to vote for such other purpose under a state constitution or statute or a local ordinance; and voting for such other purpose is conducted independently of voting for a candidate for such federal offices, in such a manner that an alien has the opportunity to vote for such other purpose, but not an opportunity to vote for a candidate for any one or more federal offices.
Any person who violates the above section shall be fined, imprisoned or both.
But the law goes on to say, that it does not apply to an alien if each natural parent or adoptive parent of the alien is or was a citizen (whether by birth or naturalization); the alien permanently resided in the United States prior to attaining the age of 16; and the alien reasonably believed at the time of voting that he or she was a citizen of the United States.
Does that mean, if I believe I am a citizen, I can vote?
In California, the issue is further complicated by the implementation of Assembly Bill 60, which granted California driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, and Assembly Bill 1461, the California Motor Voter Law.
Since 2015, more than 1 million noncitizens have received California driver’s licenses. How many of them have been automatically registered to vote with or without their knowledge? We don’t know. There is no way to reconcile the list of noncitizen driver’s licenses with voter registrations. What we do know is that if a noncitizen is inadvertently registered and casts a ballot as a result of being registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles, there will be no legal consequences.
Except that their vote may cancel out yours.
We do know that starting April 1, the DMV will be required to automatically forward the information of all “eligible” license applications and renewals to the Secretary of State for the purpose of voter registration.
Additionally, there are citizenship eligibility issues with online voter registration which solely relies on self-certification. Applicants simply check a box. There is no protocol for communication between the Secretary of State’s office and the DMV in the event that a noncitizen license holder attempts to register online to vote. Nothing prevents the DMV from providing signatures of people they know to be ineligible to vote to the Secretary of State’s office to complete their online voter registration.
There is no transparency between the DMV, the Secretary of State’s office or any other agency. The Secretary of State’s office no longer maintains records of people who were inadvertently registered, may have voted, and wish to cancel their registration. Oversight of voter eligibility is next to impossible.
Only stronger federal election laws, enforcement of those laws and vigilance can protect citizens’ right to vote. Contact your representatives. Demand that citizens’ rights be protected. Be sure to register and vote.
Day of reckoning due on public pension costs, tax watcher tells seniors – Article from The Daily Republic By Ryan McCarthy
FAIRFIELD — John Takeuchi, introduced as the tax watchdog of Solano County, told seniors that “the day of reckoning is coming” for the cost of pensions paid school teachers and other public employees.
He said Measure P funds – from the sales tax Fairfield voters agreed in 2016 to extend – should not be used to cover the cost of city employee pensions.
“We’re watching,” Takeuchi said.
He spoke at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Friends of the Fairfield Senior Center meeting at the Fairfield Adult Recreation Center.
Takeuchi is a member of the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group.
We just call ourselves “tax watchers,” he told seniors.
Brian Dolan, superintendent of the Dixon School District, said at an October meeting of school officials that pension costs could run school districts out of business.
Schools may first reach a point where they do less for students because of contributions to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, Dolan said.
“It’s scary,” Dolan said. “It really is very scary.”
Takeuchi recounted for seniors the history of Proposition 13, the property tax limit measure California voters passed in 1978, and said Gov. Jerry Brown sought after its passage to get around the measure.
State lawmakers have joined that effort, which Takeuchi said includes a requirement that voters opposed to new fees get a majority of people in a district to object in writing to the tax.
When the Fairfield City Council sought about 15 years ago to impose a 4 percent annual increase on water rates, he recalled, taxpayer advocates got about 1,400 people to oppose the plan.
“That stunned the council,” Takeuchi said.
He praised how the Fairfield-Suisun School District handled the Measure C bond voters passed in 2002 but said the $249 million Measure J voters passed in 2016 lacks the detailed project list Measure C provided.
The Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group sent local government agencies letters asking how they measure the effectiveness of programs. Businesses undertake such evaluations routinely but governments do not, the taxpayers advocate said.
Public agencies have not responded to the taxpayers group, said Takeuchi, who doubts they’ll hear back from government officials.
“We’re not holding our breath,” he said.
The Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group never supports tax measures but does sometimes decides to take no position on them.
Asked who is responsible for following how schools spend bond funds, Takeuchi said citizen oversight committees are supposed to and that they issue reports about spending.
“Nobody pays attention,” he said.
Members of the taxpayers group attend meetings of local government – except for the Mosquito Abatement District, which he said nobody wants to follow.
Monitoring public agencies is important, Takeuchi said.
“Somebody has to watch,” he said.
The Tax Watchers column Fairfield Daily Republic Dec 11, 2017 CA SB-1
Tax Watchers – The Hard Facts of California’s New Gas Tax By Carla Nelson
While handing out candy last Halloween, two young boys came trick or treating. One was wearing a suit with neatly combed hair and no mask. He held out a large hat lined in fake dollar bills. He said nothing. His companion who was dressed in a traditional costume spoke for him saying, “He is here for your money, but candy will do!” Oh! I exclaimed, he must be Jerry Brown!
Just like our trick or treating little friend, Jerry thinks he need only present a top hat for us to fill with money. His newest trick? SB-1, otherwise known as the Gas Tax bill.
At first glance, the average consumer may not even be aware of the new taxes since the price of gas advertised at the pump doesn’t explain the tax, but only reflects the total cost of fuel per gallon. Here is what is hidden from the consumer and the true cost of fuel in California according to Ronald Stein of Fox and Hound.
Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees
Federal Fuel Tax 0.18
State Fuel Tax 0.42
State UG Tank Fee 0.02
Sales tax 0.09
Climate Change and Renewable Fuel costsCost of Renewable Fuels standard 0.07
Cost to fuel of LCFS 0.04
Cost to fuel of Cap and Trade 0.11
– Total taxes and fees $0.93
Diesel Excise Taxes and Fees
Federal Fuel Tax 0.24
State Fuel Tax 0.36State
UG Tank Fee 0.02Sales tax 0.09
Climate Change and Renewable Fuel costs Cost of Renewable Fuels standard 0.07
Cost to fuel LCFS 0.02
Cost to Fuel of Cap and Trade 0.14
– Total taxes and fees $1.11
About one third of the price of gasoline and diesel is attributed to taxes alone!
Other new charges include an additional $25-$175 vehicle registration fee, depending on the value of one’s automobile. Electric car owners will pay a flat fee of $100.
Although most of this outrageously gotten tax money does go for road repair and maintenance, almost one third goes to non-road related projects. 700 million is allocated for bus and light rail, 400 million to maintain and repair bridges (makes me wonder where our bridge tolls go), 100 million to bike and foot paths, 7 million to research and education, 5 million to workforce development and so on.
Property owners also help pay for capital and operating expenditures for highways, mass transit and airports. Twenty percent of their property tax bill goes to the county general fund for these expenses. If state and local governments could learn to budget wisely, it would not be necessary to place the tax burden on the shoulders of the people.
What can citizens do? There are two initiatives which are now in the signature-gathering stage. One repeals the recent gas tax legislation. The other is a Constitutional Amendment which requires any future raises in fuel tax and vehicle registration fees to be approved by the electorate as well as repealing the SB-1 gas tax. The two are not conflicting and both can be voted on if printed on the ballot. SB-1 is a bad law which hurts everyone, especially low-income families and commuters. Please help Californians to reverse this law by signing both petitions. Not only will I be signing the petitions, I will also be gathering them.
The Gas Tax Repeal Petition forms may be found at http:act.reformclifornia.org/gas-taxpetition.pdf.
Carla Nelson Fairfield, Ca
Central Solano Citizen’s/Taxpayer Group
Recent local government meetings and links with more details.
Solano Board of Supervisors schedules special meeting on RM 3 ballot placement – Daily Republic Story by Todd Hansen 2.18.2018
San Francisco Bay Area Restoration Authority. – Website and Measure AA info
Solano County Board of Supervisors – Agendas, Minutes, Videos of Recent Meetings
More Articles and Reports of Interest – Solano Board of Supervisors not pleased with County Fair Budget Report.
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District / Citizens’ Oversite Committee for Measures C and J – Agendas & Meeting Dates
CSCTG member Barbara Pisching gave this Measure J report at our Feb 9th meeting.
The 2016-2017 Measure J Performance Audit will be available to the public on March 12, 2018.
There are four lease-leaseback construction projects to be completed this year:
1. Oakbrook Elementary – modernization and new administration building @ $8 millio
2. Public Safety Academy – new library and gym @ $22 million.
3. Suisun Valley K-8 – new library and gym @ $8 million, in addition to the new parking lot which was completed for $2.5 million.
4. Tolenas Elementary – modernize for security @ $3 million.
FSUSD Facilities Manager reported that the current commercial construction cost for public buildings is at $600 per square foot.
Lighting upgrades at Armijo and Fairfield High Schools are in progress and being paid as Prop. 39 projects.
Funding for future maintenance of Measure J buildings projects will be paid from an increased annual maintenance budget (Fund 14).
The CBOC will prepare within the next few months their annual report on Measure J spending after review of the Performance Audit.
End of report, Official Minutes of the meeting will be posted soon.
CA Gas Tax – CA SB 1 Transportation Funding; the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017
The CSCTG Tax Watchers are joining other groups in protesting this increase by attempting to get this legislation repealed in the 2018 Elections. Here are a few links to articles that may be of interest. HJTA – Gas Tax Increase With Novacaine
This article by Dan Walters on the CALmatters.org website shows the type of misleading information that is sometimes found in the titles of ballot measures at all levels of government.
Distorting ballot measure title undermines electoral system.
Coming Soon to a ballot near you!
November 2018 will be here before you know it and we will be keeping our eyes open for proposed legislation that will be of interest and concern to the people paying the bills; you and me! Stay tuned – more to come.
Several CA Measures are already being proposed; here is a listing of them. Most will not ever get enough signatures to be placed on the ballot but you can probably get a feel for one’s that might get a chance. – Initiatives and Referenda Cleared for Circulation
Propositon 13 – All Tax Watchers need to be vigilant for the near constant attacks on this legislation since it was passed June 6th, 1978. A good place to check it the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association. – Major Threats to Prop 13
This is not really a breaking story, more like a tidal wave that is about to hit.
“Stopping the Runaway Pension Train” BY CAROLYN COLEMAN – Runaway Pension Train
Some projects don’t end – such as Monitoring How Effectively Tax/Bond Money Is Being Spent.
Union Sponsored Project Labor Agreements (P.L.A.’s) – The unions are pushing project labor agreements on many projects which increase project and labor costs due to many union work rule limitations, decreased competition, which further drive up the costs to the taxpayers on taxpayer paid projects. The Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group opposes Project Labor Agreements and urges government agencies to avoid such costly and burdensome constraints on their projects.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PLAs
TheTruthAboutPLAs is a project of Associated Builders and Contractors designed to track and disseminate news and relevant information about the detrimental effects of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs). PLAs are costly and discriminatory pre-hire construction agreements that effectively restrict qualified merit shop contractors and their skilled employees from bidding and working on construction projects. – TheTruthAboutPLAs.com
Citizen Bond Oversight Committees (CBOC)
Government at all levels are find it easier to fund projects with 30 to 40 year bonds for major expenses. This effectively doubles the cost of any project. In order to get these bonds passed citizens must pass these Bond Measures by a 2/3 majority. The requirement drops to 51% if the measure includes having a Citizen Bond Oversight Committee to oversee that the funds are being spent as stated in the measure was voted on. This sounds good but sometimes turns out to be little more than “window dressing” used to get the money.
California League of Bond Oversight Committees (CaLBOC)
Operational Guidelines for Bond Oversight Committees – CaLBOC Guidelines
We have more stories for Tax Watchers than we could ever hope to fit on this website. Plenty of good reading on our facebook page! Facebook – TheTaxWatchers