Richard Rider

Richard Rider
San Diego, California, USA
August 24
San Diego Tax Fighters
Biography of Richard Rider (Updated July, 2011) San Diego, CA 92131 E-mail: * AGE: 66 * EDUCATION: B.A. Economics, University of North Carolina, 1968 * MILITARY SERVICE: Commander, Supply Corps, U. S. Naval Reserve, retired after 26 years (four years active, the rest in the reserve). ** OCCUPATION: Retired stockbroker and financial planner. Lifetime member of the International Association of Financial Planners. Former business owner. * AFFILIATION: • Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters • National Taxpayers Union • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association • San Diego County Taxpayers Association * POLITICAL ACTIVITIES: • Successfully sued the county of San Diego (Rider vs. County of San Diego) to force a rollback of an illegal 1/2-cent jails sales tax, a precedent that saved California taxpayers over fourteen billion dollars, including $3.5 billion for San Diego taxpayers. • Actively supported a variety of tax-cutting ballot initiatives including Proposition 13. Has written ballot arguments against numerous county and state tax increase initiatives. • County co-chair of both California term limit initiatives (Prop 140 and Prop 164). • Libertarian Party candidate for governor in 1994. • Candidate for the 3rd District County Supervisor in 1992 (third place among six candidates with about 20% of the vote). • 1993 – appointed to (and then elected chair of) the San Diego County Social Services Advisory Board. • 1996 – appointed as a Commissioner on the California Constitution Revision Commission by state Assembly Speaker Kurt Pringle. • Has been involved in legal actions against City of San Diego to force a public vote on issuing bonds for Qualcomm stadium expansion, convention center, baseball ballpark and other projects. • 2005 – Unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of San Diego, though his reform ideas have since taken hold. • 2007 – Columnist for NORTH COUNTY TIMES and SAN DIEGO DAILY TRANSCRIPT • 2009 - The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's "California Tax Fighter of the Year" * FAMILY: Married. Wife, Diane, is a retired public high school teacher. Two sons, ages 32 and 27.

FEBRUARY 16, 2011 12:58AM

REVISED: The bogus "Next 10" CA budget survey con job

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The left wing, big government group Next 10 has for some time touted their clever online survey – "The California Budget Challenge -- How will YOU balance the budget?" They claim over 250,000 have taken their survey.  Sadly, it is a sophisticated scam. 

 It is based on a logic fallacy – in this case, what logicians call a "false dilemma."  According to Wikipedia, a false dilemma is also known as a "false dichotomy, the either-or fallacy, fallacy of false choice, black and white thinking or the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses."

While the Next 10 online survey is glitzy and slick in format – replete with interactive pie charts and a bit dazzling to the layman – when all is said and done, essentially only two major choices are offered -- the false dilemma:

1.  Raise taxes
2.  Cut services

But the truth is that there are many other options – without even going for the more radical solutions.  Essentially they revolve around how to more efficiently DELIVER needed and/or desired services.

The Next 10 goal is clear – to trick people into thinking that our California state government is running at peak efficiency.  They want to convince us that if we want our state services, the only option is to vote for higher taxes.

Granted, this latest version of Next 10's grand propaganda effort is the most sophisticated version yet. Contrary to the heavy-handed previous versions of their survey, in this iteration they do indeed allow the player to select a tiny reduction in the cost of government employees – $200 million.  That's about 00.21% of the 2010-2011 state budgeted spending of $92.8 billion. Chump change – and it is based on the absurd notion that this amount is the maximum possible compensation reduction.

One option is to go nose-to-nose with the public employees, demanding "parity" in pay and benefits with the private sector.  Clearly, government compensation today is excessive – and unnecessary to get the job done.

Consider this example.  We have about 300,000 K-12 California public school teachers. CA public school teachers are the 2nd highest paid in the nation, behind NY.  The average 2008-09 CA educator salary was $68,093 – 5.7% higher than the previous year’s $64,424 average.  The national median average teacher salary is (including CA in the average) is $50,777.  Page 21, table C-18

Now, CA residents average about 6% more income than the national average.

If we set teachers' average salaries at a comparable level (6% above the current national average teacher salary – counting the inflated CA educator salaries), that would come to $53,824. Hence we could save $14,269 per teacher. Total savings = $4.28 billion. Not exactly chump change.

And the savings don't end there. Lower teacher salaries would mean lower pensions, which would mean lower taxpayer pension cost. Currently the districts owe over 15% of salary to STRS to pay for the pensions, and to start dealing with the $40 billion teacher pension unfunded liability.  15% pension contribution savings on a $14,269 salary deduction for 300,000 teachers comes to a taxpayer annual savings of $642 million.

Even bigger per employee savings are available for prison guards (excuse me – "corrections officers"). California prison guards are the highest paid in the nation.

An even better option is to contract out every possible government service – not police and perhaps not firefighting, but everything else should be considered for competitive bidding.

Libraries, welfare, the DMV, prisons (a big one), education (a far bigger one), CALTRANS, parks and many, many other "government" functions can be done far less expensively by private sector firms.  For instance, private prisons (common around the country but now essentially illegal in CA) humanely house prisoners for over 60% less cost per prisoner than CA prisons.  Education vouchers or tax credits could provide quality schools for less than half the current total per student taxpayer cost.

There are literally hundreds of other efficiencies waiting to be implemented, but blocked at every level by the public employee labor unions that actually profit from costly, inefficient government.  In 2004, Carl DeMaio led a San Diego city budget reform group where our detailed study found 226 such inefficiencies – many brought to our attention by the city employees themselves. 

Of course, almost all recommendations were summarily dismissed by the City Manager (Lamont Ewell) and the labor union-controlled city council.  Ewell grandly informed us that "his city" was already running at peak efficiency. It's probable that they didn't even read the study. 

BTW, Ewell abandoned the sinking city ship a year later -- as soon as he qualified for a city pension (which took a total of 5 years San Diego city employment, plus 5 years of phantom service -- legally purchased by Ewell at a HUGE discount!).


The purveyors of this false dilemma – the most powerful group in California politics, affecting both state and local governments – don't want to seriously consider these real world alternatives.  Deception to get higher taxes (and "fees") is their game, and taxpayers are the pigeons in the con.  Voters beware.

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We should never forget that Next 10 was one of the backers (if not the principal backer) of the recent push for a California Constitution Convention — another clever ploy designed to rig the makeup of a “convention” that they planned to use to eliminate Prop 13 and our super-majority protections against 50+% mob rule. Fortunately that failed to gain support.

Next 10 is indeed “nonpartisan.” That term means that they are not tied to a SINGLE party.

Partisan — they are not. Next 10 represents the Democrat, Green, Peace & Freedom and Socialist Party (the only one not currently ballot qualified). Talk about diversity! They even might have a token “Republican” or two who are not even fiscally sane enough to be called RINO’s.

If you are curious, check out their website.

BTW, one common misconception is that a “business group” or business owners are inherently moderate to fiscally conservative. Of course, we know that is not the case. Indeed, too many business owners are “rent seekers” — people seeking to gain through the coercion of government what they cannot earn through the market place.

Think George Soros — think ethanol — think GE — but the list of liberal business owners and CEO’s is much longer than most of us care to think about.

Eternal vigilance (including monitoring Next 10′s unending efforts) is the price of liberty.
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