San Joaquin Taxpayers Association

Established in 1949!
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School Districts in San Joaquin County
The SJTA prepared a Comparison on Classroom Time / Salary comparison of the four largest districts in San Joaquin County SJTA Report
Community Forum on statewide pension reform
California Senator Mimi Walters was invited to speak at a forum hosted by the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association, where the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Foundation released a new study showing unsustainable numbers.  (photos)
We ask, 'How are my tax dollars being spent and what do I get in return?'  Our form of government relies heavily upon the involvement of its citizens.  Contact your elected officials.

Serve on a local Citizens' Oversight Committee (COC)  Responsibilities of a COC here - We will help you find a place to serve!

California Legislative Information
Daily events, bill information, new laws.  Search a pending bill and get updates to the bill e-mailed to you!

School Bond Primer
A bond is essentially a tax and the cost is usually divided based on the value of your home.  More info here.

Need help getting public information?
Download the California Public Records Act guide here.
Community Forum  on local school bonds
Local school superintendents spoke about current projects, future plans and oversight for their respective voter-approved bond measures at a forum hosted by the SJTA 
Stockton Building Permit Fees
Stockton's building permit fees are nearly 40% higher than the average of other San Joaquin cities; even higher than some cities in Solano and Sacramento counties - comparison study
We have speakers available to talk to your group regarding local governmental and taxpayer issues.  
Civic-minded individuals in the following communities are needed to serve on boards and commissions.  Please click for information on how you can serve!

Here are some ideas to help you make a difference in your local government.
Stockton's Measure A - Citizens' Oversight                                                                                           Nov. 3, 2013 Ballot Measure
Voters approved the three-quarter cent Measure A sales tax, the centerpiece goal of which is to increase the size of the police force by 120 officers by June 2017*.      We are tracking Measure A for you...  Progress Report  (Revised Oct.1, 2014)

Measure A Citizens' Advisory Committee: 
    Agenda and Minutes    Meeting of May 20, 2014
    Agenda and Minutes    Meeting of July 15, 2014
    Agenda and Minutes    Meeting of Oct. 23, 2014
FIGHT THE BITE - Local findings are repetitive statewide
San Joaquin County Mosquito Abatement District Trustees voted huge benefits for themselves in 2009.  District trustees meet monthly, for which they receive a reasonable stipend. But it is unconscionable for part-time, non-elected individuals who are appointed to community service to expect us to pay for their health coverage and that of their families.  Read the full report here.
Putting the bite on taxpayers!  click here
The Cost of Lodi City Council
If health and retirement benefits are considered by a candidate in serving this community, we will most likely be represented by the wrong person.  Lodi News, Mar. 1, 2014  Editorial offers some suggestions and calls for the council's true bosses, the taxpayers, to cast the critical eye on spending.
San Joaquin County Sheriff Candidate Forum 2014  video
Sheriff Steve Moore and Sgt. Pat Withrow fielded questions in a forum hosted by the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association.
The Record 3-26-14    Lodi News-Sentinel 3-26-14    

The San Joaquin County Taxpayers Association is one of the oldest taxpayer organizations in California.  We monitor and report on tax-related matters and other financial issues in San Joaquin County.  Members prepare articles, special reports and written analyses to help local residents understand the background and development of the issues that affect our quality of life.

We educate the public by hosting public forums featuring political candidates, community leaders and elected officials in San Joaquin County.  The SJTA has earned the reputation of being fair and balanced, and the association is instrumental in influencing government through oversight and reporting on key issues.  We invite you to join us as we partner with local government officials through a non-partisan approach to solving problems.

David Renison
SJTA President
San Joaquin County Supt. of Schools Forum 2014
The SJTA hosted a forum in Stockton on Apr. 24, 2014.  James Mousalimas, Jeff Tilton and Mike Gillespie answered wide-ranging questions on fiscal accountability, truancy, curriculum and other  issues of interest. 
The Record      Lodi News-Sentinel
SJTA Endorsement Policy:
The San Joaquin County Taxpayers Association, a nonpartisan organization, encourages informed and active participation in government.  We work to influence public policy through education and advocacy, but we do not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.  We may, however, take action on selected government issues in the public interest.
Public employee Salaries and Benefits
Search City, County, Position or Employee Name
                                                                                             click here
To these local officials 
and community leaders!
Lodi City Council - Health benefits for council members
The problem was defined and solutions were presented in March 2014.  But the matter became worse for Lodi taxpayers on June 18, 2014.  SJTA Report
The question is, will voters support the district in borrowing another $114 million when the district already services $25 million a year in bond debt?   Read the measure  FULL TEXT

Nov. 3, 2013
Measure A
Apr. 1, 2014
Measure A
July 1, 2014
June 30, 2017
Number of budgeted officer positions prior to Measure A..........365
Number of sworn officers promised with Measure A revenues....120
Number of sworn officers promised by June 2017...................485
San Joaquin County Supervisor Candidate Forum 2014  video
The San Joaquin Taxpayers Association threw questions at two candidates vying for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 11, 2014  The Record    Lodi News
Sept. 2, 2014
Stockton City Council Candidate Forum 2014  video
Bankruptcy, crime, Measure A, economic development were among the topics in 38 questions presented by the SJTA to the candidates on Sept. 25, 2014       The Record
Stockton City Council candidates and others face off
On Oct. 1, 2014, the day a federal judge considered Stockton's long-developed plan to exit bankruptcy, candidates vying to lead the city into its still-uncertain future faced off in a series of forums hosted by the League of Women Voters.   Click here for video. 
Stockton ruling says pensions can be cut in California bankruptcy

October 1, 2014 - Taxpayers won a major victory today when federal judge Christopher Klein ruled that the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is not protected from cuts in Stockton's bankruptcy trial.

During a bankruptcy court hearing on May 27, 2013, City Manager Bob Deis testified that he never once sought to modify the City’s obligation to CalPERS, that he never attempted to negotiate with CalPERS and that the City did not explore other pension options (Doc 832).

Previously, health insurance benefits for city retirees had been eliminated.  It was a bitter economic lesson for nearly 1,100 families.  The reason?  No one sought for the middle ground.  Likewise, city leaders, retirees - as well as those in line for retirement benefits were apparently unwilling to search for that middle ground on pension reform.  They felt it was ok for Stockton residents to suffer cutbacks in basic services to protect outrageous pensions.

Many city employees and retirees will tell you privately that the current level of pension obligations cannot be sustained. City councils across California were spurred by then-Gov. Gray Davis’ sweet deals with state employees.  In a letter delivered to Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Klein, filed Apr. 3, 2014, I outlined the impact of employee pension costs in Stockton and provided workable solutions.

The divide between the public sector and the private sector is that there is no fundamental fairness. Private taxpayers are forever asked to pay more for public sector obligations regardless of extenuating circumstances or whether the economy is good or bad. The solution lies in shared sacrifice. 

If changes are not made, everyone loses, including those receiving the benefits.  Two years ago, Gov. Brown’s 12-point plan for pension reform was torpedoed by his own party.  But now, the time has come for bi-partisan statewide pension reform.  Judge Klein’s decision may help us get there.

David Renison, SJTA President
Oct. 1, 2014
MICHAEL FITZGERALD, Columnist for The Record newspaper
authored a new booklet called "STOCKTON GOVERNMENT: How it Works, and How to Make it Work for You".    It belongs to whoever believes that knowledge strengthens the individual and the community.