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Friday, October 9, 2009

Oct. 6: Richard Rider Day in San Diego

The San Diego City Council declared Oct. 6 to be Richard Rider Day, to recognize the taxpayer advocacy that won Libertarian Party member Rider this year's Howard Jarvis Tax Fighter Of The Year award.  Video of the 8-minute proceeding is here; clicking the Go button for the Richard Rider Day menu item forwards to the 7:52 mark.

Council member Carl DeMaio says of Rider: "Perhaps his greatest victory was his successful effort in overturning the County of San Diego's illegal half-cent sales tax, a precedent that was applied statewide, saving California taxpayers more than $14 billion, and saving San Diego County taxpayers more than $3.5 billion."  Rider was gracious in his remarks to the Council, telling them their relationship is symbiotic, and that without wasteful government he would have to take up gardening -- which he hates.

Today, Rider sent out this analysis of San Diego county civil servant pensions:
Here is a San Diego County Taxpayers Association press release describing their excellent new pension study of the PERS-pension cities within San Diego County (essentially all but the city of San Diego).  All these "River Cities" got trouble.  And it's understated in the study.  Look it over, and check out the detailed 52 page SDCTA study online.

One aspect that surprised me was how many cities pay most or all of the employee's pension contribution -- I didn't realize this madness was so widespread.  I was delighted that in addition to detailing this unsustainable injustice, the study points out that such city payments count as salary for pension purposes, boosting the pensions even further -- something few people understand.

Hence such a 30 year “general” city employee paying nothing for their pensions and getting the 3% a year pension multiplier gets not the infamous 90% of their highest pay pension – they get 97.1% of their highest pay.  Equivalent police and firefighters get 98.2% of their highest pay.  Considering commuting costs and labor union dues, most such career employees will retire with pensions higher than their working take home pay.

Keep in mind that what you see in this study is the RULE rather than the exception for most California cities, and indeed many if not most cities in the nation.  Plus counties, water districts and other public agencies.

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