Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

S2008 - Why Not For or Against?

I decided to vote tonight and after trying to decide whether State Superintendent Jack O'Connell was going to run for Governor and get tribal and gubernatorial support...might Arnold support him? Then I took a look at Measure S2008.

The measure seeks a $35.15 property tax assessment for emergency services. After doing some back of the napkin figures and wondering how a hospital can't afford a bit extra to the community, I had to also wonder why there were no arguments for or against the measure in my ballot statement.

Our friend from COLAB Andy Caldwell writes in The Lompoc Record to urge a "no" vote:

This unfunded mandate is costing our local hospitals millions each year. Additionally, there were some state funds helping to pay for the Cottage Hospital Trauma Center. These funds have temporarily been cut off. Before the county can reapply for state funds, it must first ask local voters to see if they would be willing to increase their property tax instead.

While I sympathize with our local care providers, I have no respect for our state and federal lawmakers, who already have enough of our money in order to deal with this problem. I therefore encourage you to vote “no” on Measure S2008.

I rarely agree with Caldwell and am not sure whether I agree with him now. Why though, when we are fighting health care costs, bickering among presidential candidates and producing movies like "Sicko" -- is this an issue? Is Cottage Health Systems not making enough money to give a bit back to the community in terms of care? Is this just a placeholder measure to meet a requirement to get some of the millions we will get from the Proposition 90's back to the hospital? Are they just going through the motions but figure there is no need to advocate for what they ask for?

There is something wrong with seeking democracy to cure an ill and not being willing to stand up for a $35.15 per parcel payday. What were they thinking?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted no. We pay 50% more for healthcare than most civilized nations, and we get the worst healthcare (measured in terms of life expectancy and a group of other health indicators, according to the UN) of all the civilized nations.

United Health Groups's CEO (William McGuire) got paid $124.8 million a year. And now the health-industrial complex wants us taxpayers to pay those costs with our property tax. No way.

I voted already via mail-in absentee. I love the feeling of having already voted, and then noting that all the ads are a total waste of time and effort on me, since I've already marked and submitted my ballot.

I uniformly vote no on all initiaves now... they are always crooked and twisted these days.

1/23/2008 9:55 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Our County and whole society have an endless need for more funds for vital government programs, including health care.

Why this particular tax amount for this particular need and for this particular taxation method?

Where would this end? Good health care insurance really costs about $8K per person annually.

This seems to be on the ballot with no way to remove it.

1/23/2008 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my thoughts of medical care which our all talk-no action politicians are not handling.

Medical care on a local level is no longer a basic business of supply and demand because the funding of it is so convoluted. Imagine being a hospital, doctor or nurse that has patients that do pay either directly or through the low ball acts of insurance companies. Then add the payments from medical and medicare that don't even cover the material costs of care never mind the labor costs. Add to it a group of patients that show up and utilizes the emergency rooms for a hang nail or a standard cold and don't pay. Now the patients that do pay, pay more (the built-in inflation of it all). The hospitals and Doctors pay by giving away their services. The government pays to barely cover the shortfall.

Now the land owners are stiffed with the bill. That all flows downhill to everybody. Medical and Medicare needs to cover their part.

1/23/2008 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But in the end, we all pay 1.5 times the amount per person than other civilized countries (Sweden, France, Austria, etc) pay.

So if no one is getting paid, where is the money ending up?

1/24/2008 8:13 AM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

I understand the need for terrific health care and other community services. I am just not getting the connection between property owners and health care. Many people that benefit from health care don't own property. I guess a rent increase would be in order for those that rent. I am a bit skeptical that the money being asked for would truly go to local health care.

1/24/2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Less is more when it comes to health care in the US. Most of our dollars pay for the worried well to continue their deleterious lifestyles and not do anything preventive that may cause them inconvenience.

You are right - we do not have "the best health care in the world". That is a total, too often repeated myth. We have most of the worst health quality markers of any industrialized nation, and we pay twice as much for this bottom rung position.

Most are better off without health "care". Traumatic repair is as much as we should be paying for .In fact we should just be paying only that $35 a year for emergency care and let the rest of this over-priced nonsense called "health care" alone.

Eat sensibly, exercise moderately, think good thoughts, keep a positive outlook, retain a sense of power about your own life and stay the heck away from a medical industry that wants to sick, to stay sick and to fear being sick.

1/24/2008 3:10 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

So if no one is getting paid, where is the money ending up?

Insurance company profits.

1/24/2008 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a hospital administrator and a blogger. While I don't work in SB, I haven't heard anything of this and am a bit surprised that Cottage or EMS haven't come out on the issue. Since it lacks passion from those it most closely impacts, I can only suspect it is an effort to follow the required process.

1/27/2008 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry this is only a rumour, but I heard they have to do this first before they can apply for federal money - go to the people to see if they will tax themselves, and then when they cannot get the money, the feds will pay.

Kind of a Bushism, don't you think?

1. First he lets the back door open and floods the country with people with no health insurance and spends no money to protect local services from this unfunded increase in emergency services by people with few other places to go.

2. Then he tries to stick it to the local taxpayers who never let the door open, but do exploit the willing workers who entered illegally and certainly do not pay for their health insurance.

3. Then when the explioter employees shine on providing the services on their own, the feds finally step in and pay for what they should have either prevented or fixed in the first place.

4. One more point of light for the Bush's compassionate conservatism. (And capitalism exploitation while getting to blame the fix on the Democrats.)

1/28/2008 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first thoughts regarding this measure were "oh, so that's their way around proposition thirteen." They tack on an emergency services bill to our property tax, and it will continue to go up and up, then what's next? A tax to drive on Santa Barbara roads? A tax for how many trees are on your property?.....there is no limit to the ridiculous taxes they could start charging. And all because Ahnold can't balance a budget...ah it's so much easier to just charge property owners more taxes.
Watch out for those seemingly "innocent" tax measures especially when they are pushed by corporations.

2/02/2008 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not a way to get around Prop 13.

Prop 13 was designed to let us make the choice to tax ourselves or not through the initiative process. Which is exactly what this is doing.

No one but the voters make this choice. So what is your problem with democracy?

You let Bush export it around the world and now you claim you don't like it?

2/02/2008 4:33 PM  

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