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Ruling Class Redistribution

Thursday January 7th, 2016   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:23am PST   •  

seal_ca_200X200Politicians talk about spreading the wealth but ruling-class redistribution works best in one direction. Government takes money from the workers and gives gobs of it to government bosses, often on their way out the door. As we noted, when Jim Estep parted company with the northern California city of Lincoln he bagged a separation settlement of $178,00, plus another $135,000 for unused vacation and sick time. This brought Mr. Estep’s annual his annual income to a whopping $470,000 for less than eight months of work. This windfall made him the highest paid local government official in the capital region, where lump-sum payments totaled $31 million. As Brad Branan notes in the Sacramento Bee, Mr. Estep has plenty of company.

In 2014, thirteen local government employees in the capital region received lump-sum payments of more than $100,000, according to data from the State Controller’s Office. Sheriff’s deputy Milo Fitch bagged a lump sum of $184,484; Deputy DA Marvin Stern, $164,443; attorney Douglas Hamilton, $159,818; Sheriff Captain James Cooper, $149,930. And so on. Lowest on the list, El Dorado County Counsel Edward Knapp, bagged $113,319. Are these people worth all that money? Taxpayers have good reason to doubt it. Should the state continue to shell out taxpayer dollars for unused sick or vacation time? No, but don’t look for legislators to take up the cause.

As the headline to Branan’s piece notes, the lump-sum payouts also “boost pensions,” which are already much higher in government than among workers in the private sector. Taxpayers should take that into account when they tabulate the cost of government. And remember, California has 58 counties.

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January 2016