May 12, 2011
CONTACT: Lani Lutar
619-234-6423 or email@example.com
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
619-997-2495 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SDCTA Calls for San Diego City Council to Delay Retiree Healthcare Vote
Details need to be presented to the public and thoroughly discussed before any vote
(San Diego) – The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) today urged Mayor Jerry Sanders and the San Diego City Council to delay a special meeting Friday where they are scheduled to approve a new retiree healthcare benefit plan for City employees which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The Association would like the City to release the detailed fiscal analysis for thorough public vetting before voting on the new plan.
The only publicly available documentation is a one-page spreadsheet provided by Buck Consultants, which does not include methodologies or specific calculations.
Lani Lutar, President & CEO, said a preliminary review based on the limited information available to SDCTA shows the proposal is not a good deal for taxpayers. “Based on a preliminary review, this appears to be a significant giveaway of taxpayer money,” said Lutar. “Library hours have been cut, potholes go unfilled and other core public services have been dramatically reduced. The City of San Diego cannot afford to leave hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.”
“We’re outraged by the assertion that taxpayers who will ultimately be on the hook for paying these benefits into the next generation aren’t permitted to know the details of the fiscal impact,” said Lutar. “Mayor Sanders was among those who signed the ballot argument in support of Proposition B in 2006, which called for full disclosure of the cost of any increase to retirement benefits through publication of an actuarial study. Here, the City is proposing to enter into a 15-year agreement on extremely generous retirement healthcare benefits which officials have acknowledged are not vested,” said Lutar. ”There is no reason the same level of disclosure should not be applied.”
“Taxpayers have been burned before when the City rushed into previous agreements that seemed reasonable but turned out to be wildly unfavorable, including the Chargers ticket guarantee and employee pension deals in 1996 and 2002. All of these so-called ‘good deals’ would have benefited from more open discussion, more thorough vetting, and more time for consideration.
“What this tells us is that we need more time to make a careful assessment with full and complete disclosure. This data should not be confidential,” said Lutar. “If Mayor Sanders is confident this measure is a good deal for taxpayers, why can’t he be completely transparent and fully share all the information he has with the public?”
Lutar will testify on behalf of the Association at the meeting, scheduled for Friday, May 13, at 9 a.m. at San Diego City Hall, 12th floor.
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary new taxes and fees. Founded in 1945, SDCTA has spent the past 66 years saving the region’s taxpayers millions of dollars, as well as generating information to help educate the public.