The Contra Costa Times has endorsed the "No on T" campaign by recommending a NO vote on Measure T. From the paper:

Contra Costa Times editorial: Utility tax endorsements MEASURES T, S, u AND o: Pleasant Hill voters should reject their city's measure while Pinole, Newark and Albany voters should show support

MediaNews editorial

Posted: 10/12/2010 12:01:00 AM PDT


FOUR EAST Bay cities have utility tax measures on the Nov. 2 ballot, all of which require majority approval for passage. We urge Pleasant Hill voters to reject the measure on their ballot and recommend that voters in Pinole, Newark and Albany support their measures.


No on Pleasant Hill Measure T: Since 1983, the city has collected a 1 percent tax on telephone service. This measure would increase the tax to 1.5 percent and greatly expand the services covered to include cable television, electricity, gas, water and sewer services.

This really isn't an extension of an existing tax as it's being billed. It's essentially a new tax because the changes represent a sixfold increase, raising the annual amount collected from about $190,000 to $1.2 million. While the tax was proposed to make up for funding cuts from the economic downturn, it's a permanent tax with no sunset date and no review when the economy improves.

Before officials propose increasing taxes, they could trim employee benefit costs to raise at least as much money. Currently, city workers pay $55 a month for medical coverage, regardless of the number of dependents. The city pays the rest, costing taxpayers about $1,000 per employee per month.

As for retirement, the city not only pays the employer share of payments to the state retirement system, it also picks up the employee share. As a result, for every dollar of payroll, the city pays another 37 cents for police pensions and 19 cents for the retirement of other workers.

So far so good! Now the winning line:
 


The money provides generous benefits unavailable to most Pleasant Hill taxpayers. It's unfair to ask residents to pay more while city employee benefit costs go unchecked.
 


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