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Assessing Costs, Benefits of Services Such as Libraries

July 04, 1993

Now it's the libraries that are going to close if the counties can't come up with some new sources of revenue. Give me a break! Libraries are only the latest in a seemingly endless series of legislatively induced financial crises to be paid for by "benefit assessment districts" BADs.

The term "BAD" seems appropriate for this legislative effort to kill Prop. 13. BADs embody all of the injustices that forced the people of this state to pass Prop. 13 in the first place. They put an unfair tax burden on homeowners without any consideration of their ability to pay. For senior citizens on a fixed income, it could mean the loss of their home. Because a BAD is an "assessment" and not a tax, it is not subject to the two-thirds majority to pass under Prop. 13 nor is it deductible on your federal income tax!

If it comes down to a choice between a BAD and libraries, let the libraries close, let them close the fire stations and cut the police force. Maybe then we, as taxpayers, will finally ask our assemblymen just where our tax dollars are going, if not to pay for these public services. Are we really supposed to believe that there are no programs of lower priority to be cut in the budget, and if it is that important why aren't we, as citizens, allowed to vote on it in accordance with Prop. 13 rather than this blatant circumvention of the law?

In the future you can expect to see BADs for just about any "worthy" cause that politicians can dream up: fire and police protection, AIDS research, the homeless, air quality, illegal alien support. . . . The list will go on forever and all at the expense of property owners.

Benefit assessment districts--remember that term. It may be the reason you are eventually forced into bankruptcy or, as a retiree, to sell your home.




I would like to express my joy at the passage of Proposition 1, to "save Pasadena's libraries." I am a single mother of two young boys. Pasadena Public Library has been like my second home. When I was pregnant, I researched books on parenting, Lamaze, nutrition, etc. Pasadena's reference staff are incredibly intelligent and talented, and I haven't been able to stump them with a question, yet. They always provide an answer with fast, courteous and efficient service.

I would also like to praise the public services staff. My boys love the pajama story times at the branch libraries, and summer reading club is a great way to motivate them to read. I, myself, love the adult author series, and I feel a tremendous loss since it was one of the first programs affected by budget cuts. Where else can I go to meet Stephen King or Michael Crichton and ask them questions about their wonderful books?



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