Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government

Site Map | Search

Home | Mission and Philosophy | Issues | Events | Council MonitorCitizens Alerts | Links | Contact us


Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government > Issues

Promises, Promises

back to issues page

Promises, Promises

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 place.

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 tax.

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 not!

I urge you on November 8th, vote NO on Question #1

John DiMascio

Communications Director
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government



Home | Mission and Philosophy | Issues | Events | Council MonitorCitizens Alerts | Links | Contact us 
Problems with the web site? E-mail: Mike Humphrey 

Web site design and development by Panoramic Sites