Here’s a civic dilemma for you.
Santa Clara wanted to set aside some open space for recreation and the general enjoyment of the people and put an initiative on the ballot to raise the funds. It passed.
But the California Supreme Court decided that the $20 a year per property tax payer constituted a tax rather than a fee. Taxes require a 2/3 majority. Fees only require a simple majority. It ruled the tax illegal.
What to do with the money that they have already raised for open spaces (about $130 total per household)?
A group who call themselves Taxpayers of Santa Clara sued and won a class action ruling that the county had to return the money – after deducting the $7m in lawyers fees (plus sundry other administration costs). I got my letter today.
If I fill in the form, I get my share of the bounty and the Open Spaces Authority fires a few park rangers and probably closes some parks.
In a taxpayer revolt – and a reversal of the usual situation – many taxpayers are refusing to claim their refund to
- Protest the frivolous lawsuit
- Show Taxpayers of Santa Clara that they do not represent us
- And to announce that we rather like open spaces and would like to fund them
Dear Santa Clara,
You can keep my $130.
Dear Taxpayers of Santa Clara,
Dear Tony Tanke of Davis (who represented the Taxpayer of Santa Clara),
Enjoy your $7.4 million.
You suck too.
My mistake. It wasn’t a dilemma at all.