Well, with no fanfare and no trip to Shuberts afterward (!), my husband and I went in to get our Utility Tax rebate yesterday.
It was very inconvenient. I had to take my husband because, despite numerous attempts to add both of our names to our PG&E account, PG&E keeps dropping my name from the billing. It’s like being declared dead. Don’t ask me why PG&E does anything – I don’t argue with sexist antiquarian morons. So, I dragged the Old Man Downtown in the middle of his work day, made him wash up and put on a fresh shirt – he refused to shave, and I didn’t press it. I had to promise him the money too, after I filled out the spread sheet!
Forty Four Bucks! And oh, you know I had plans for that money!
The $taffer who helped us was very nice, but not completely professional. I don’t want to hear what people think of my income, not when they work in that building, that’s for sure. “That’s it?” she says. I wanted to ask her if I was allowed to comment on her income, but, she was in charge of the cash drawer, so I held my tongue. What I’d like to hear from any of them, is “Thanks for paying those property taxes that pay our salaries every year Juanita, no matter what financial shape your family is in!” Just once, knowhatimean?
Dave Burkland reported that only about 110 households out of thousands eligible comes in to take this rebate, to which they are totally entitled. That’s because you have to come down to the city, during hours when the average person is at work, in person, with all your bills, a handy little spreadsheet filled out in two directions, columns added up both ways, and a copy of your latest tax return.
Your other alternative would be to load ALL YOUR UTILITY BILLS, or copies thereof, along with all the other stuff I mentioned above, into an envelope, and SNAIL MAIL THEM. I know, and they know, how stupid that is.
Instead, they should offer an exemption to anyone who has qualified two or more years in a row. Like the low-income rate assistance programs available through utility companies, a person should only have to file an eligibility form every three years or so.
But the city of Chico would stand to lose MILLIONS if they allowed eligible people to be permanently exempted from this program. They depend on the poor to pay their $100,000-plus salaries, benefits and retirement packages. Most of the residents of Chico would qualify for such an exemption, with a median city income of around $35,000. Right now, Utility Tax is one of the city’s three biggest revenues. Such an exemption would tank the fund by what – half or more?
So you eligible folks must get in there and get your rebate. Please do it. Show the city you are not happy with the way they spend money. Your money.
Here’s the form you’ll need, and the eligibility requirements: http://www.chico.ca.us/documents/UUTRefundPackage.pdf
My husband and I took our rebate over to Mangrove Plaza and patronized several businesses there, even buying items that generated sales tax. If we had let the city keep our money, it would have gone to salaries, many of which leave town every day at 5pm. Or earlier! The city attorney’s office had been vacated by noon last Friday.
UPDATE 6/5, 8-ish pm: I’m listening to the council meeting online, and Jennifer Hennessy just said that UUT accounts for 15 percent of city revenues! She also said UUT revenues were consistently down by 1 – 2 percent over the past few quarters.