Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio's editorial ("Debate at City Hall: Pay raises vs. food tax," AFN, June 29) mirrored that of a couple of articles I read in the Examiner while on family business in San Francisco.

I'm hoping Phoenix will make similar gains in government reform exemplified recently in California.

DiCiccio noted that the additional food tax the city collected was equal to pay raises of government staff, but we were not informed of the true cost of those pay raises until after the budget was approved, labor agreements were signed off on, and all public hearings were completed.

By contrast, San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee managed to reach a tentative agreement with labor unions of police and firefighters over scheduled wage hikes next fiscal year to help cut the city's budget deficit and stave off layoffs.

Although Lee didn't include funding for the raises in his budget proposal, the agreement includes a 3 percent raise recently, but in return, public safety employees would increase their pension contributions by 3 percent.

California's legislators finally passed a balanced budget and spending plan - Gov. Brown vetoed it as being unbalanced with about $90 billion in spending and less than $88 billion in revenue resulting in cut-off expense payments and salaries of state legislators if a balanced budget wasn't passed by the June 15 constitutional deadline, according to the state's new Prop. 25 - following lawmakers' outrage, which proved that getting paid was the sham budget's primary purpose.

Voters are entitled to true and complete information concerning any new taxes levied. Even in a faltering economy support for taxes is more likely when voters know money is spent responsibly on education and safety and not on inappropriate pay raises and six-figure annual payouts to pension-spiking retirees and other waste, fraud and abuse.

Sandy Jane Wong

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