Jan 23, 2012
Top officials of Santa Ana, California extorted a new contract from city employees in December. Under the new contract, the employees’ contribution toward their pensions was increased from 8% to 13% of their wages. Employees have to take 17 additional furlough days – meaning almost one and a half days a month – a big wage cut. Previously, they were taking one furlough day per month. The combined giveback amounts to a 15% pay cut.
City officials said they had no other choice. The city has a budget deficit of 30 million dollars, and it was left with only $300,000 in reserves. The city manager Paul Walters said that the city “faced shrinking tax revenues and state raids on its budget over the last four years.”
Budget deficit? The workers didn’t cause it. Officials like Walters did.
Santa Ana has set up so-called “enterprise zones,” which cover more than half the city. The businesses located in these areas are allowed to reduce their taxes by $37,440 a year per employee, which is more than what almost all these businesses pay to their workers. There are also sales or use tax credits for equipment. All these tax credits reduce the City of Santa Ana’s income. That’s why there are “shrinking tax revenues.”
If there is a budget deficit, get the money back from the business owners who benefitted from it! Stop trying to cut workers’ wages to make business more profitable – and their owners richer!