Reckless spending has become the hallmark of the Board of Supervisors of Contra Costa County. According to the Contra Costa Times (Feb. 17), County Administrator David Twa is to receive a huge pay raise on July 1.
The Times reported that Twa’s annual pay will go from $243,000 to $260,000. In addition, according to the Times, Twa will receive an additional two weeks of vacation per year, and the county will contribute $23,000 per year into Twa’s retirement fund. Overall, Twa will receive a 16.5 percent increase in wages and benefits.
Twa has received strong support from several county supervisors, including Federal Glover, John Gioia, and Candace Andersen. Andersen represents the communities of San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and part of Walnut Creek.
When this reporter wrote Supervisor Andersen on February 18, asking for her views on Twa’s compensation increase, Andersen replied: “I don’t want to lose a very good CAO [County Administrative Officer].” Twa, she said, “has been approached by other communities who would like to hire him away.”
While Twa has generally received high marks for his work as the county’s administrator, his compensation increase can be expected to spur other county employees to seek additional compensation.
The county has a history of recklessness with money. A few years ago, the county had unfunded retirement liabilities of $3 billion. In late 2006, county supervisors voted themselves a 60 percent pay increase.
If Contra Costa County has to increase taxes to pay for more government, then the country will be imitating the state and federal governments.
On January 1, California’s sales tax went up one-quarter percentage point. Before that sales-tax increase, California already had the highest sales-tax rate in the nation.
California also now has the nation’s highest top personal income-tax bracket: 13.3 percent. Hawaii used to have that distinction. Hawaii’s top bracket is 11 percent.
At the federal level, there will be, for individuals with incomes over $200,000, a special investment tax of 3.8 percent of income. The investment tax applies to income from rent, interest, dividends, and capital gains.
The big question is: How long will it take for citizens to rebel over massive tax hikes?