Meeting with OC Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street

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As we approached the office of OC Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street for a business meeting this morning we noticed a huge simulated check on a wall payable to the County of Orange from the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office dated July 1st, 2008. The amount of the check reads $905,936 with a memo on the bottom which reads “Underspent Budget for FY 07-08.” That, my fellow readers, is very impressive.

During the meeting with Chriss and Assistant Treasurer Jennifer Burkhart he proudly discussed the performance of their streamlined department

As a point of information I need to mention that as of June 6th they collected $4.5 billion from the tax role or roughly 96 percent which is higher than our neighboring counties of Riverside and San Bernardino.

While the state struggles with staffing levels Chriss pointed out that he has reduced his department staff from 106 budgeted positions in the 3rd quarter of 2006 to 93 in the 4th quarter of 2008 and currently is performing their tasks with only 84 positions.

On Wed., in my post on the Democratic budget proposal to increase state taxes, I reported that “Standards & Poor’s has put us [the state of CA] on their credit watch list. Compare that rating to the Dec 1. 2008 Standard’s & Poor’s Fund Ratings of two Orange County Money Market Funds which they rated ‘AAAm.’
Reading from that S&P publication it states “Standards & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it assigned its ‘AAAm’ principal stability fund rating to Orange County Money Market Fund and Orange County Educational Money Market Fund–the first ‘AAAm’ ratings assigned to a California county government investment pool.

The ratings are based on our analysis of the funds’ high credit quality, low market-price exposure, and management.”

It is worth pointing out that when we send our property taxes to the Tax Collector that money does not remain in Orange County. As a “donor” county almost 90 percent is sent to the state capital of which 53% comes back in the form of education funding.

So when you read that the legislature is considering taking our local Prop 42 gas taxes or “borrowing” from our property taxes, as permitted under Prop 1A, remember that they already get the lions share of our property tax revenue.

Based on his local success at the county level perhaps Chriss should sit down with the “big five” in Sacramento and show them how to cut the size and cost of our state government programs before they begin issuing IOU’s next month.

About Larry Gilbert