Since deciding to not seek re-election as Borough Mayor in 2011, I have made no political comments regarding Borough politics. However, after reading today’s headline article in the Clarion, I have decided I cannot keep quiet after reading all the many tax increases the Borough government wants that will hurt senior citizens and the many non-profits that help promote the positive quality of life we all enjoy. Once again, government views taxes from the standpoint of needing more revenue rather than understanding that they need to limit and reduce expenditures.
In growing up here, we all knew that this was an unfriendly environment for older residents. Grandparents and senior citizens could not live up here because of the very high expenses especially for those on a fixed income. As a member of the Borough Assembly for three terms in the 1980s, I was very glad to support the property tax encouragement the senior citizens’ property tax exemption created. Now, the Borough wants to discourage senior citizens from living here by taking away the senior citizen exemption for a portion of their Borough property taxes on their primary residence. The next step, using this logic, is to eliminate the $50,000 exemption for ALL Borough residents from their property taxes on their primary residence! This will be the next shoe (boot) to drop regarding Borough property taxes.
Additionally, the Borough wants to damage all Borough non-profits by taxing them on all their fund-raising. This will be an accounting nightmare! Many Borough non-profits will be required to spend their limited revenue on employing accountants not on the needed services they now provide.
The non-profits use the fund-raisers to provide scholarships for our kids and many diverse services for Borough residents. The Borough wants to tax all non-profit fund-raising raffles and selling of “rippies” which provide for Veteran’s services, Little League and Oilers, school activities, sports teams and the many small groups that help victims of disease and negative life experiences. The next step, using this logic, will be to tax all non-profit churches and fund-raising religious activities. Will the Borough’s boot require residents to report all religious donations (tithes) Borough residents make? How will this affect the fund-raising by the private non-profit religious schools?
In addition to damaging our great quality of life by making grandparents and senior citizens have to move, this tax increase proposal will also reduce local sales taxes as senior citizens, proportionally, are much more likely to buy locally than the younger more computer savvy residents. We should be encouraging people to buy locally. How many more local businesses will have to fail before the Borough gets the message that less taxation is good for business?
Another defect in the Borough’s tax increase proposal deals with the monthly cost of home mortgages. Any monthly mortgage costs for one’s primary residence will increase if the mortgage lender computes property taxes into the monthly mortgage costs for those whose mortgages cover the time period after they reach age 65. Since the Borough wants to increase property taxes for those over 65, their monthly mortgage payment will have to be increased. Again, senior citizens and those with lower incomes will be faced proportionally with more taxation.
Our constitutional government is based on the principles of “Limited Government” and “Consent of the Governed”. These necessary principles limit the tax damage local governments can inflict by requiring a vote to determine how much Borough government can take from our earnings and retirement pensions. Every candidate for the Borough Assembly this year and next should be required to state their intentions regarding these proposed outrageous tax increases. Every Borough resident should make sure they vote!
And lastly, why were there no proposals to limit government taxation and reduce expenditures? If the wise people in the Borough leadership spent as much time looking for tax savings as they are obviously spending on increasing taxes, maybe WE THE PEOPLE would trust them more!