To the Editor:
Budgets can be a complex chore to understand, but the choice facing Tiverton voters at the May 15 Financial Town Referendum (FTR) is a simple one. There’s just one figure to consider: $1.39 per week. That’s the tax difference between the two options on the FTR ballot for a $250,000 home, less than the price of a cup of coffee. But the true cost of the “lower taxes” promised by Option 2 is stunning.
FTR Option 1 is the elected Budget Committee’s recommendation, put forth after months of effort. It responsibly funds our current level of town and school services, while requiring a minimal tax increase.
FTR Option 2 is the “David Nelson Budget," pushed by TCC, a Tea Party-style political-action committee. It arbitrarily cuts $600,000 from the amount the Budget Committee determined was needed to adequately fund the schools, with no clue as to what to cut to achieve this.The has demonstrated that closing this budget hole will require either closing a school or eliminating all extracurricular activities, as well as staff cutbacks. Is it worth decimating a school system recently recognized for rising achievement to save $1.39 week?
But that’s not all the frights in the TCC/Nelson Budget Funhouse. Although it guts the school budget, Option 2 nearly triples the municipal budget increase recommended by the Budget Committee. How can this be so if it taxes $1.39 per week less? By raiding the town’s already-depleted General Fund. In fact, this will put that fund below the legally-mandated level. But never fear: this budget promises that $200,000 in “new revenues” will magically appear. “Fiscal responsibility”? No, smoke-and-mirrors.
The Nelson/TCC budget option 2 would be a complete joke if not for the thousands of dollars TCC raises and spends to push its agenda. When you see the yard signs and receive the endless mailers and robocalls, ask yourself: why would a group offering something good for “all taxpayers” need to spend so much to sell its plan? With the TCC website soliciting anonymous contributions up to $1800, whose interests are they really concerned with?
When you hear TCC claim to represent “struggling taxpayers," keep in mind that the TCC-majority Town Council could ease their burden right now by increasing hardship tax abatements. But they won’t do it because they might have to pay a bit more to make up the difference. And consider: how does it help hard-pressed taxpayers to decimate both our schools and our General Fund?
Get the facts and speak out at CURB-Tiverton on Facebook, or at: www.curbtiverton.blogspot.com. TCC counts on voters not understanding the facts and being swayed by slogans. They need those who value education and long-term financial health over short-term gain to not vote. Surely most can agree that our schools and our financial well-being is worth more than $1.39 per week. Stand up for our community by voting for Option 1.