Another Day Another Tax


by Lou Binninger

Yuba County residents are punch drunk from repeated tax increase moves by cities, the county, school districts, state (road taxes) and now Reclamation District 784 assessments.

Meanwhile government is making people poor in others ways, as well. The CPUC (California Public Utility District) granted PG and E the clearance to raise rates after they and the state mismanaged our forests and utilities causing massive forest fires and historic destruction. The citizens pick-up the tab.

 P G and E rates are already 60% higher than the national average. Our gasoline prices are a dollar greater per gallon than other states.

            This has everything to do with greedy mismanaging politicians and bureaucrats with a bent for centralized management of our lives while wasting our money and natural resources. Report after report reveal corruption, waste, foolish projects, incompetence, too many workers with many not accomplishing a thing.

Prevailing wage government jobs like highways and schools waste 20-30% on labor costs due to the Davis-Bacon Act establishing union – government collusion that mandates all contractors pay exorbitant wages. The loser is the common citizen.

            Recently, Reclamation District 784 (RD784) that manages the care of ditches and levees in Yuba County sent an announcement that on May 9th it would consider raising the parcel assessment to fund its work. Ballots would then be sent to property owners the week of May 13 telling each what will be owed.

            If the new assessment request is approved then the increased amount will be charged beginning 2019. If not approved, the assessment will remain as it is now.

The mailer describes the importance of caring for our water ways. It says RD784 is not getting enough from its assessment and an assessment from TRLIA (Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority formed in 2004).

Those who have done some research say RD784 wants to double its assessment.  One owner says he paid $183.10 for his TRLIA Levee and Flood Assessment for 2018-19. His additional RD784 assessment will increase in 2019 from $243.54 to $370.04 or $126.50, a 52% increase. The two assessments will amount to $553.14 if the assessment is approved.

The same parcel owner notes that TRLIA reports an $8.5 million surplus in 2018-19 and forecasts a $7.4 million surplus in 2019-20.

One Plumas Lake citizen’s tax bill lists property taxes plus eleven additional assessments. The property tax was approximately 67% of the total with the other fees, bonds and taxes making up another 33%. If the RD784 assessment increase is not rejected by county residents may also be seeing two more school bonds on the ballot in 2020. If passed it will bring to 15 items on the annual “property tax” bill again spiking what they owe to live in Yuba County.

This tax statement analysis does not include the new Measure K 1% sales tax increases added to Yuba County purchases and purchases of autos where ever acquired. The Measure K increase could bump sales tax costs by hundreds to thousands a year per family.

Here is the tricky part of the RD784 mailing. This will not be a go-to-the-polls ballot box vote. Those disagreeing with the increase will have to respond to the notice they receive in the mail. No response equals agreement with the assessment increase. Most of these measures pass due to the passivity of the voters.