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Letter to the Editor: Until transparency - no on Measure E

By: Frank Palermo, Folsom
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Dear Editor,

Just what are we being asked to vote on in Measure E (Transaction and sales tax increase for 10 years providing approximately $8.4 million annually)? Infrastructure and public employee pension liabilities?

Increasing public employee pension costs are being passed on to the general public in the way of increased taxes. Here are three good articles on the subject: Dan Walters CALMATTERS June 6, 2018 – ‘Local officials avoid the "p-word' as they push new taxes;’ Dan Walters CALMATTERS April 22, 2018 – ‘California cities, school districts pushed to the brink of insolvency;’ another is San Jose Mercury News Ramona Giwarfis dated Feb. 20, 2017 – ‘Will San Jose's pension costs consume revenue from new taxes?’

After pursuing information on the now dead Proposition 218 Water Rate Increase I found, (not in the published notification material) a Projected Escalation Expense factor document. This document shows factors FY2019 through FY2023. The expense combined factors for PERS, Benefits-Medical and Benefits other are as follows: FY2019 – 19.5 percent, FY2O2O – 22.9 percent, FY2021 – 20.7 percent, FY2022 – 17.4 percent, FY2023 – 16.1 percent. PERS alone was the top escalation expense factor in every year.

In regards to Folsom Measure E, the impartial analysis from the city attorney reads in part, "The tax revenue can be spent for "unrestricted general revenue purposes." Folsom voters deserve to know if revenue will go to public pensions. If not, it needs to be written in the measure. If yes, tell us, and let the voters decide.

We need to know exactly where every new tax dollar is going before passing Measure E. This accountability holds for any future water rate increases, propositions, measures and bonds.

Until the city lets us know, I vote no.

- Frank Palermo, Folsom