Although some of what you are about to read has been said, it is worth
repeating because this coming Tuesday we must decide whether or not to
increase our own taxes.
Before we consider
yet another tax increase we must answer two questions. Are our taxes
too low? Does the Town spend our money wisely now? Since the answer
to these two questions is a resounding NO, the question then becomes:
What is the great need for a tax on a tax? While the Town faces many
serious expenditures, this surcharge will not fund them. Rather, it
will finance a “wish list”.
Amusingly, CPA supporters actually make the best arguments against this
tax. Their own promotional material is replete with self-defeating arguments.
Let’s start with what I’ve dubbed the “CPA bargain
outlet pitch”. We are told that we can get 50% off of the sticker
price for a variety of projects. But consider this: half-price sales
are typically used to sell us things we don’t need. I’m not
suggesting that the Town should only provide bare necessities. However,
given the failing schools, the condition of roads, spiraling energy costs,
and rising health insurance premiums, we shouldn’t be increasing
taxes to fund a laundry list of wants; when we have so many real needs.
Five communities received a combined eight million dollars last year!
That may be true. But here is some math CPA sponsors avoid like the plague.
The CPA trust fund (the source of the match) took in roughly twenty-six
million dollars. There are one hundred communities that have adopted
the CPA. If five communities collected a combined eight million, that
only leaves eighteen million for the remaining ninety-five municipalities.
Look at it another way, if one hundred communities raise an average of
five hundred thousand in revenue, the CPA Trust fund would need fifty
million per year to give each of them a 100% match. As it stands now,
the fund is collecting just over half that amount. It simply does not
add up. One thing is certain, the State predicts it cannot provide ANY
municipality with 100% matching funds past 2009.
Act now so we can get our fair share of matching funds! In other words,
pay extortion money to recover money they stole from us in the first
CPA supporters are
making promises galore. Here is the short list: a new Astro-Turf surface
for Victory Field, buying Sawin Pond, restoring the stain glass windows
at St. John’s Church,
and subsidizing homes for Town employees.
Oops, I forgot my
personal favorite; buying 27 acres of land next from the Gore Estate
in order to build two baseball diamonds and a pool. Folks that land
is easily worth over twenty-five million dollars. There is no way we
are going to be able to buy it. Santa Clause can’t fit
it in our stocking. If anyone tells you different they are being disingenuous.
Some promises can’t be kept as a matter of law. Case in point:
I’ve heard some tell me that CPA money will be used to subsidize
the fees they pay for their children’s extra-curricular activity.
But the law is clear, CPA money cannot be used to supplant existing programs.
But, the most insidious
assurance being made is the promise to exempt the elderly and those
who can’t afford this
If you can’t afford this tax, you may well be a renter. No one
can exempt you from the higher rents this tax could trigger. Seniors
as well as low-income families will have to fill out lengthy forms, produce
detailed documentation, and possibly make a costly trip to their accountant.
Worst of all they will have to submit to an “ invasive financial
exploratory procedure” at the hands of Town employees; every single
year. It will be like trying to fight a traffic ticket. Good Luck! The
price and aggravation are designed to dissuade opposition.
This raises other questions. How many extra staff hours will be needed
to handle the requests for these exemptions? Will it mean overtime ?
Who will pay for this? We will pay for this! Once again, taxpayer dollars
will be wasted on governmental red tape.
Finally, I’d like to address the actual cost of this tax increase.
Real Estate assessments have almost doubled over the past half-decade.
Municipalities now routinely use reassessment to thwart Prop 2 1/2. The
CPA imposes a surcharge. That means that every time they reassess your
home the surcharge will go up. So that $60, $80, or $100 surcharge will
most likely double or triple in short order. That now infamous “weekly
cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts” may wind up being a more like a
daily “Double Latte” at Star Bucks and box of croissants
from “Au Bon Pain”.
All that said, the point IS NOT how small this tax on a tax will be.
The point IS we pay enough already!
Herbert Hoover promised
America “A chicken in every pot and car
in every garage”. We know how well that worked out. Now, the same
people who had hoped to run an “under-the-radar campaign” to
raise our taxes, are promising everything but a cure for the common cold.
Can we trust these people with more of our hard earned money? I think
I urge you on November
8th, vote NO on Question #1
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government