On May 5, a clear message was sent that voters will no longer obediently approve the politicians' tax increases. And that's great news!
Chula Vista city politicians held a special mail ballot election to raise the city sales tax an additional full 1 percent to 9.75 percent. In a dramatic turnaround from similar previous city sales tax elections around the county, the Chula Vista city politicos and employee labor unions got their collective keisters kicked, losing the vote by a lopsided 2-to-1 margin.
This defeat in the county's second largest city is all the more impressive because the other side had the public employee manpower and money to win easily -- in normal times. But these are no longer normal times.
Many factors came into play:
The initial churlish response to voters from Mayor Cox was to cut services -- including police. Not considered were more meaningful fiscal reforms -- renegotiating the city's opulent labor contracts, new lower pension plans for new hires, requiring employee pension contributions to their pensions, or contracting out city operations. For now, the city is still run for the benefit of employees (and for the politicians), rather than for the citizens.
But times have changed. Politicians need to understand the voters' clear message to control spending with existing taxes. Or else.
Rider is chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters.