Thursday, April 12, 2007


The override in our town, on which we voted on 10 April, passed in resounding fashion by a vote of 59% yea to 41% nay. Obviously, we will conform to the wisdom of the electorate but it is disheartening that at a time in Massachusetts politics that many towns are voting down their overrides our town approved a pair of them that may cost us anywhere from $352 to $704 in the first year -- one of the questions concerned a debt exclusion that will supposedly decrease in cost to the taxpayer over the life of the 20 year bond.

The reason for our uncertainty about the actual cost of he override concerns the definition of taxpayer. There are two people on the Quarter Acre Tax Bill -- are we considered one taxpayer, or two? We're not sure, but we'll find out when our bank sends us the notice of increase in our escrow payments because the taxes have now risen, again . . .

When will we, the people, force the government to stop reaching into our pockets? When we have budget shortfalls at home we reduce spending. The government taps the "never-ending" supply of money within the population. The big argument for the overrides was to "keep our schools strong." We live in a town with a very good school system (as far as public school systems go). Had the override not passed, teachers would have been laid off, and class sizes would have increased. No one ever said how many teachers would be fired or by how much classes would have grown. The argument was purely emotional, and couched in fuzziness though the drain on our finances is anything but fuzzy (though it is emotional).

The money that we must now pay to the town equals at least one car payment, and possibly two depending on the actual definition of taxpayer; a nice weekend away; at least a few nice meals, and possibly several in a restaurant; a new dishwasher, Mosquito Magnet or some other type of durable good. Yet, we are happy to support the schools, we don't really need those things.

We moved to our town partly for the schools -- not because we're sure we want to send our kids to them, but for the value it adds to our real estate investment. If things continue to go according to history, there will be another override next year, and our property taxes will rise yet again. Eventually, this will affect our investment by making it harder to sell our house because of high property taxes.

There will be another sob story next year, and more lamentations that our schools will be weakened . . . if you want private-school-education send your kids to private school, don't rely on the public dime to provide it. Taxation is a power issue. By claiming ever more of our money, the government removes our power to decide how we want to live. Some day it may stop -- though we fear that will be the day that we, like so many other Massachusetts refugees, flee the burgeoning Peoples' Republic that is the Commonwealth.

No comments: