The City of California City appears negligent in fidelity to taxpayers and duty to strategically plan for fiscal sustainability. Instead of strategic planning, some in California City leadership believes it should maximize the special parcel tax levied against over 50,000 parcels, including over 46,000 vacant parcels – without any fiduciary or fidelity to the taxpayers it appears. Worse yet, most of the 46,000 vacant parcel owners are disenfranchised and have no vote in the matter. Un-American tax policy or not?
City Council and Management: Why are you going off the rails?
The result of failed leadership? A never ending epic parcel tax plague on property values including a 30% default rate. This City Council voted 3-2 prematurely June 22, 2021 to once again raise the parcel tax and asked NO questions about the consequences of the additional parcel taxes levied on top of the general tax levy – which general tax is designed to fund public safety. When Mayor O’Laughlin asked about the date the parcel tax rate setting must be submit to County, finance response was, “by Thursday June 24…” Fortunately, for you and the taxpayers, and for those who care about our future and want it to become a vibrant and sustainable community, my office contacted Kern County Auditor Fiscal Support Specialist to verify when the rate setting is due. The Resolution, in fact, is not due until August 10th. There is plenty of time to make a correction to rate setting, as necessary.
Questions Must Be Answered, as presented by my office. Dive in to the actual financial data including all of the fourth quarter required and fully examine the imposed cannabis tax and qualified revenue further – which must be examined deliberately and closely.
Instead of limiting property taxes according to widely popular Prop 13 ad valorem (according to value), three (3) members of City Council voted to increase additional special parcel taxes which would amount to a new levy six (6) times greater than the general tax receipts. The $8 Million dollar special parcel tax levy if billed at a rate of $160.60 per parcel on top of the general property tax will be one of the most regressive, one of the most expensive and most destructive tax in the state history.
While lining up to raise parcel taxes excitedly, and while taking no action toward planning strategically for fiscal sustainability or budget priority setting, three (3) members of this City Council – led by motion to raise the parcel tax from Kelly Kulikoff, Jim Creighton and Karen Macedonio voted to raise the parcel tax while asking no questions about the estimated 2 million square feet of cannabis developments pent up in planning, which if unleashed would amount to as much as estimated $10 Million in new general tax revenue. Even if Occupancy estimates were a mere ten percent fraction of 2 million square feet of canopy, the newly imposed cannabis tax would be at least additional $1 Million of estimated $10 Million possible (similar to last years qualified revenue growth). Even Mayor O’Laughlin suggested the incoming revenue expected would offset the parcel tax more this coming year. However NONE of your Council asked about the finance dept. duty to administer the tax in accordance to the cannabis tax ordinance 3-2.8., which is directly linked to the parcel tax reduction rate, according to Ordinance 3-2.1. Why the cat and mouse game? What the hell is going on here?
Several sections of the cannabis tax ordinance deliberately details how the imposed tax shall be administrated, including sections detailing Reporting and Remittance (3-2.8.060), When Taxes Deemed Delinquent (3-2.8.080), Penalties and Interest (3-2.8.100), Enforcement – Action to Collect (3-2.8.160), Deficiency Determinations (3-2.8.220) and Failure to Report – Nonpayment, Fraud (3-2.8.230). Who is accountable to tax administration and reporting? Questions Must Be Answered now!
The bottom line: Taxpayers until now have little fidelity from City Officials! Do the right thing now: Streamline permitting now, impose and collect cannabis taxes and reduce parcel tax dependency scheme!