Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brunswick Councilor: Raising property taxes “likely inevitable.”

A Brunswick town councilor, who shall go unnamed in this report, is reported to have said that in “this economy,” it makes sense to raise property taxes.

Said councilor is a B.M.A.T., a term that regular readers will be able to decode after a few moments of reflection.  (For those having trouble, the “B” stands for big, and the “T” stands for town.)

As reported in the NOTWIUN,

District 4 Councilor John Perreault and District 1 Councilor David Watson said they hoped to see a zero percent increase, although District 5 Councilor Ge__ld Fa___au and others acknowledged that a tax increase is “likely inevitable in this economy.”  (Favreau’s name has been modified to protect his identity.)

Let’s examine his premise - “in this economy.”  First and foremost, the reason that federal and state tax revenues are down is because taxpayers are earning less, and therefore spending less.  In other words, taxpayers have less resources, and therefore, less disposable and discretionary income.

The state derives the majority of it’s in-state revenue from income taxes and sales taxes.  The town, on the other hand, derives the vast majority of its locally generated revenue from the property tax, and a significantly lesser amount from the auto excise tax.

Accordingly, declines in state revenue received from residents are a direct reflection of the lower economic well-being of residents, meaning they are less able to meet their own needs and expenses.  In simple terms, “this economy” has a direct, immediate, and profound effect on locally generated state revenues. Expecting residents to fork over an increased portion of their smaller resources to support government is ludicrous and shows a shameful lack of respect for the rights and sovereignty of the individual taxpayer.

The property tax from which the town derives its local revenue, in case you haven’t noticed, is virtually independent of and immune to “this economy.”  The town has not adjusted property valuations down to reflect the true economy, and the tax rate they set is based on what they wish to spend and absolutely nothing else.  Simply put, the revenue generated by the property tax is totally independent of the economy, and totally dependent on the spending appetites of local officials.

The auto excise tax, which generates on the order of 10% of local tax revenue, is modestly sensitive to the economy, as it would influence whether residents buy new cars or hold on to the ones they have.

In so many words, however, the town’s levying of property taxes is driven solely by an insatiable demand to spend.  Any consideration of raising property taxes to compensate for less revenue sharing from state and federal sources simply heaps insult upon injury of local taxpayers as they deal with the stress the economy places on their incomes.

But no matter; councilor B.M.A.T. is comfortable in increasing the tribute local residents pay to their town so as not to have to adjust town expenditures to face the same realities as they face.

In other words, so what if your resources are less than in past years?  You expect the town to get by with less just because you couldn’t keep your income growing, or even level?

Hey taxpayer, get over it.  Deal with it.  Your “public servants” demand it of you, and who are you to question them?

Or even worse, approach them in their big red chariots as they wheel around town?

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