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Fix Government First

POSTED October 26, 2011 2:55 p.m.

Dear Editor,
Measure O will increase your local sales tax by a half-percent. As your councilmember, I want to take this opportunity to state some facts.
While the City of Oakdale has cut spending by huge margins, it has not decreased its spending to the full measure required. The City of Oakdale does not necessarily need to pass on its spending shortfalls to its citizens.
It is difficult to cut wages or benefits at any time, however, the City of Oakdale continues to pay a portion of the employee portion of retirement, which ranges from 2 to 4 percent of their wages/salary. Employees have given 5 percent concessions toward their portion of PERS, but should be expected to contribute their entire portion. Many private sector employees are not afforded the benefit of their employer paying their retirement. This may be an area of negotiation that could be built back in at a later date as times get better.
We currently pay interest on $3.2-plus million at 7.5 percent which is owed to PERS which was money that the city had taken on when pensions were increased over time.
Numerous state mandates, rules that require additional consultants, labor rules that require attorneys, etc. add to significant wasted costs for services in the city. Standing with your city council to change these government issues will go a long way toward keeping money in the City of Oakdale and in your pocket with no need for tax increases like Measure O.
I believe putting more money into government hands never solves budget problems. It delays decisions. I voted to put this on the ballot so the community can decide on its course of action, but feel we need to fix government first, not continue to throw money at the problem.
Respectfully,
Tom Dunlop

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