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Palo Alto looks to raise council salaries

Original post made on Jun 18, 2014

Having approved raises for most city workers over the past year, the Palo Alto City Council is now shifting its focus toward a group that hasn't seen a salary adjustment since 2001 -- the council itself.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:56 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

$1000/month is a pittance for what the amount of time the Council works. Dont forget approx $500/mo. for Health ins.

We owe it to these hard working folks.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Are these stipends subject to 15.3% social security tax? Seems that any City outlay as a "paycheck" would result in less than half in take-home pay in most council member's tax brackets. Using tax dollars to pay more taxes just strikes me as inefficient.

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Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

so, no kidding. how can people represent the city unless they can afford the cost of living? this seems to make sense, doesn't it? put them on a payroll

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Posted by Que?
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm

$500/month for health insurance??? must be some crappy policy! I pay a portion of my employee health care plan out-of-paycheck every month, and that was just raised to $1500/month ( and that IS a crappy policy--an HMO).

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Posted by J. Lyons
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Salary is just part of the cost. Medical benefits, retirement, parking, travel, and special privileges may be others? What are they? What do they cost us? It has been those "other costs" that that were easily approved years ago and now stress our public coffers.

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Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm

The ought to get benefits similar to any other part time PA employee - no less and no more.

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Posted by Crooks
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:50 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:30 am

This raise is the right thing to do but it will make no real difference in the outcome that Klein says he is so concerned about. And this ties into the
discussion about number of Council members and motivations there as well among other Council members. We need to create a strong Mayor position, with a salary of $250,000,and with broad administrative powers to change the direction and focus of the City with a strong voter mandate behind
him/her. There are some very capable people out there who under these conditions would step forward. This is what we need to do.

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Posted by Dean
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:35 am

In the interests of full disclosure, I am a former Mid-Town reisdent.

Note to Musical--

All the City Council People I'm quite sure make more than $105,000 a year, and hence, like over 90% of Palo Altoans, find that by summer of each year, they are not contributing to Social Security (and neither is the city or any private employers).

Stepping aboard my high horse/soapbox, I will again say the caps on Social Security contributions by EEs and ERs are one of the most regressive, yet not so hidden, taxes in America.

Virtually all issues with funding SS going forward could be solved if Congress simply REMOVED the caps and every "earned" dollar ( but NOT the exemption on dividends, interest and capital gains) was fully taxed without upper limits.

1/2 a millionaires, millionaires, and billionaires would never miss the scraps from their table. Working folks outside the Bay Area like me and my family members surely do now. Temporary fixes to income inequality like BO's payroll tax holiday for a year are window dressing.

Where are Buffett, Gates, and Forbes on this critical fiscal issue?

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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:02 am

I am in favor of a full-time mayor who is elected by the people of Palo Alto, not the city council members. Moreover, I would like these positions to be full-time council members (paid professionals) so that we could achieve more capable individuals running than those who can afford to volunteer. In the short term, increasing the stipend to 1K seems very reasonable - especially given the amount of years since the last increase and the low stipend in the first place.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 22, 2014 at 2:54 am

@Dean, thanks for the response, sorry for delay of my reply. The article indicates that only two on the City Council have full time jobs, so it's not clear to me that they all max out their social security. The current limit is $117,000 -- congratulations to the 90% of Palo Altons who have already hit that number now that summer has started.

Regarding the regressiveness -- of the 117,000, your benefit is based on 90% of the first 10,000, then 32% of the next 55,000, and only 15% of the final 52,000. Anything we'd pay on greater than 117,000 would not result in any increased retirement check. That sounds more like an ordinary tax than a retirement plan, so rather than lifting the cap, any increase should just be folded into the overall tax brackets. Remember that social security taxes are not deductible -- we pay state and federal income tax on those dollars we never see.

The entire system is opaque, which may explain how we can pay more and more for less and less.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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