The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary taxes and spending.


Welcome to The Taxpayer's Corner!  For 80 years CoCoTax, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, has promoted "Good government at affordable cost."  If you live, work or travel through our county, we work for you, the taxpayer!

Read our posts, and watch our upcoming videos for information on current issues and proposals that affect your wallet and your life-style.  Leave a comment, and join our non-partisan efforts to protect taxpayers from unnecessary taxation.

Jack Weir, President

Intro to CoCoTax - Part I

The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association (CoCoTax) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization advocating for taxpayers' rights and prosperity.

Our mission statement is simple and straightforward:  "Promote good government at affordable cost."

Here's what the first goal - "good government" means to the 400-strong membership of CoCoTax:

  • Public agencies conduct ALL business in open meetings at which members of the public are free to comment and criticize the agency's plans and actions.  (Note: under the Ralph M. Brown Act which governs public meetings in California, there a very few exceptions for matters which may be conducted in closed session; see "The Brown Act" page here.)
  • The public is informed in advance of all meetings, and of all proposals to come before the agency.
  • Elected officials restrain the urge to go beyond their chartered responsibilities.  For example, when a city council decides to declare their city a "nuclear-free" zone, while their streets are pocked with potholes, they're not doing their job.
  • Elected officials perform their sworn duties to the best of their abilities, and adhere to the ethical rules pertaining to their office.  They put their constituents' needs ahead of their personal ambitions or any partisan objectives...they are true public servants first and foremost.


President’s Report - May, 2018

We’ve just returned from vacation and are right back in the swing of things as we approach the June election.

Yesterday, our Pensions team met, and East County chapter chair Hal Bray introduced an excellent package of information on Contra Costa County’s dismal unfunded pension liability.  This study contradicts County Administrator David Twa’s report to the Board of Supervisors that “all is well” with county finances.  It’s important to note that the other shoe of the benefits issue - unfunded employee and retiree health care liability - will drop soon, as government agencies are now also required to report those unfunded liabilities.  I expect OPEB liability will probably almost equal the unfunded pension figures in severity.  We will present the unfunded pension report to the BOS later this month, to accomplish our goal of bringing awareness to the board and the public on the dire stress unfunded benefits liabilities are and will continue to have on essential services and fiscal stability.

Last evening, I vigorously debated Regional measure 3 (RM3) at the Berkeley Democratic Club and based on audience reaction, our points resonated well.  CoCoTax has joined with other taxpayer advocacy groups in all nine Bay Area countries to oppose this fatally flawed measure.   Sponsored by the MTC, RM3 would raise bridge tolls by $3 over a six-year period, raising $4.5 billion in transportation funding.  This “ChristmasTree” scheme promises to relieve traffic congestion, but will fail to do so, as it continues to pump massive subsidies into public transit with virtually no funding for increasing highway capacity.  Past performance has proven that the billions we’ve invested in public transit has clearly not reduced traffic congestion, as anyone traveling through the Bay Area will attest. 

Later this month, I’ve been invited to speak at the Rossmoor Republican Club’s monthly dinner and will present our work on unfunded pensions and discuss our positions on June ballot measures. I expect a lively discussion and look forward to a great opportunity to pitch new membership.

This summer we will engage with USC in a project to develop a much more robust social media presence.  CoCoTax was chosen by USC for this project, and the professor who heads their “Capstone” project stated that we have strong content in our outreach, but don’t fully exploit the range of social media channels to get our message out.  I anticipate that we will garner a whole new audience to convey our strategy and projects and elicit new membership and donations.

Our financial situation continues to be worrisome.    While we’ve made some positive headway in returning some of our local refineries to the membership fold, we need to do a better job of recruiting new and retaining old members.  I will appreciate your help on this.

Jack Weir

A Handbook for How CoCoTax Does Business

CoCoTax has developed a handbook to help our members and others better understand how we operate.  The handbook will also serve as a reference source for tools to evaluate tax and bond proposals, as well as the agencies that seek voter support for the measures they propose. 

The impetus for the handbook began as a desire to help new and prospective members get up to speed quickly in the important work of Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.  Beyond that, our goals included making more visible our focus on the “good government” side of our work. 

The organization of the handbook is roughly: who we are, the principles of good taxation, what we believe as CoCoTax, how those beliefs are reflected in positions on important issues, criteria to evaluate taxes, bonds, and taxing authorities, templates to help do that, FAQ’s, and links to valuable information.  An addendum offers advocacy tips and thoughts for CoCoTax internal projects.

We believe the handbook captures in a single document much of the good work that has been done by many individuals over several years.  We also believe that it is not a document that is or will be finished, as it will no doubt prompt thinking that will continue to strengthen CoCoTax and its operation even further.  For this reason, we invite and welcome your comments.  Please send them to info@cocotax.org, and they will be reviewed for inclusion in periodic updates to the handbook and the templates.

 Click here to view the handbook.

Contra Costa County 2017-18 Budget

Click here to view the budget handout presented by David Twa, County Administrator, at the June 23, 2017 CoCoTax Board of Directors meeting.

Contra Costa Taxpayers Association Mentioned in    
National Bestseller Book


The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association was mentioned in a 2013 book by Meredith Whitney, "Fate of States". Chapter 4 is devoted to Contra Costa Taxpayers Association and the 2012 ConFire parcel tax regarding spiraling pension costs.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/06/05/meredith-whitney-book-interview/2384905/

Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity (ISBN10: 159184570X; ISBN13: 9781591845706)
                                           

Help us promote 

"Good government at affordable cost." 

Join or support our organization today.  Click here to join or click on the button below to donate.  

Upcoming Events

West County Meeting Schedule

NEW LOCATION

Pinole Library, 2935 Pinole Valley Rd., Pinole

6:30 - 8:00 p.m. 

 Monday, June 4 Monday, October 1
 Monday, July 2 Monday, November 5
 Monday, August 6 Monday, December 3
 Monday, September 10 

Issue Updates

14 Feb 2018 2:36 PM • Anonymous


Who enjoys paying taxes?  In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Sales tax, property tax, assessments, federal, state, special districts, cities, other local agencies – all add up.  But what is reasonable?  Where does your money go?  For 80 years, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, also known as CoCoTax, has been studying, informing, educating and advocating for taxpayers on any matters concerning taxation in this county.  With their focus on “good government at affordable cost”  the non-partisan association is “dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary taxes and spending.”  

Click here for complete article.

Find Your California Representative

Click here to enter your address and find your California representatives.

Click here to view a list of Contra Costa County's elected officials.

A lot of publicity has gone to CalPERS and its pitiful 1% rate of return. CCCERA is using a 7.75 expected rate of return when for 2011 it earned 2.7%, the 5 year average is only 2.4%, and the 10 year average is 6.2%.  Retaining that 7.75% rate of return will push more expenses to the governments in CCCERA including the county and ConFire. That will mean dollars that would go to services will be directed to pension payment.


 

Contra Costa $100,000 Pension  Club has 787 Members as of      7/1/2013. A 10% increase from 2012 numbers.                                

See list: http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/2013/contra-costa-county-pension/
                                      

Salaries:

http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/all/



                                       

California Property Tax

Postponement Program

Do you or a loved one need help keeping up with residential property tax payments?

The State Controller is accepting applications for the Property Tax Postponement (PTP) Program.  

Click here for more information.

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