The Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability has released a report that details the many flaws about the report by taxpayer-funded (by the Town of Apple Valley) political campaign economist Christopher Thornberg. What we found will shock you, and leave you scratching your head about why the Town would have brought an avowed opponent of Prop. 13 and proponent of higher taxes into this debate.
Here’s what we found:
- The Town of Apple Valley paid Economist Dr. Christopher Thornberg $25,000 to “review” the financial ramifications of the water system takeover.
- A simple review of Dr. Thornberg’s public statements about important taxpayer issues suggests that his views are the opposite of Apple Valley Taxpayers. Dr. Thornberg is a vocal opponent of Proposition 13, which protects taxpayers from skyrocketing property tax increases. (Source).
- Dr. Thornberg was also a vocal public supporter of the recent gas tax and vehicle license fee increases. To a community like Apple Valley, where many residents must commute to a job, these tax and fee increases will be extremely harmful. (Source)
- After reviewing his paper, it appears that Dr. Thornberg was simply asked to comment on the analysis provided by Assistant Town Manager Marc Puckett, including Puckett’s criticism of an independent report issued by the Inland Empire’s, and high desert’s most respected economist, Dr. John Husing. As a result, Dr. Thornberg merely repeats, sometimes with little embellishment, long-discredited Town talking points on this issue, and gives credence to statements and allegations by the Town and its representatives. For unknown reasons, Dr. Thornberg discounts or ignores completely any information to the contrary, regardless of how knowledgeable and credible the source.
- Dr. Thornberg concedes (and demonstrates) that he does not understand water operations, the eminent domain valuation process, accounting differences between public and private sector organizations.
- While Dr. Thornberg may be accomplished and well-intentioned, his analysis is nothing more than a desperate attempt to confuse taxpayers into believing that borrowing $150 million in long term debt and repaying it with interest, while at the same time maintaining reliable quality water service, will not increase water bills.
- There has never been a case where a takeover has resulted in lower water bills as Puckett and Dr. Thornberg suggest.