Public deficit talks are not only dominating the airwaves on a national level – they are the source of enormous strife at the local level too. Pension guarantees and pay increases for public workers are coming under increasing scrutiny as property tax revenues fall.
Cities and states have been coping with this issue in many different ways – Massachusetts decided a sales tax increase to 6.25% would be their first step to plugging these gaps, along with permission for local cities and towns to implement restaurant taxes at a local level.
Where I am sitting right now in California, where some of the largest fiscal problems exist, the state chose to increase the income tax rate (their top rate kicks in at a VERY LOW income level).Interestingly, the public is not too concerned with the salary demands of public workers. In San Francisco, BART employees (Bay Area Rapid Transit) are considering striking for pay raises and increased benefits. Reactions among average citizens have been unsympathetic (see story HERE).
If You’d Like to Track These Problems…
A website that I have profiled on my homepage is www.pensiontsunami.com. This site is celebrating its fifth anniversary. They highlight news from California and around the country concerning the increasing problem that is funding government worker pensions. Go there to get the latest scoop on what debates are happening around the country from California’s “100k” pension club to problems in Alabama, New York, and even Massachusetts.