Let me start by saying taxes are a necessary evil.

The past few weeks all of the attention has been focused on the Bush tax cuts and their extension.  Whilst all of this was going on the Southbridge Town Council raised property taxes and no one even noticed.

At Monday’s Town Council meeting our leaders voted to tax all property owners, residential, commercial, and industrial at the same tax rate.  First I would say I disagree with a single tax rate.  I understand the argument that is we want to attract business to town we need to have incentives.  Since our Economic Development Office has done such a great job attracting business to town, and the moving vans are lining up at the boarder waiting to move in, I can see why this was done.

This year the average tax bill is $2,781 next year with the increase in taxes it will be $2,852 or a $71 increase.  Now that might not be seen as a large increase but if you add the sewer and water bills on top of that, and they will be going up as well, we are putting the squeeze on the homeowner for the sake of business that might move into town.  Business that generates income on their property that a residential homeowner will not make.  And for you apartment dwellers, your rent will go up to cover that cost!

Southbridge has 12.8% unemployment and 15% of the Community live at or lower than the Federal Poverty Level.  The people in this Town are faced some some pretty severe economic hardship and I am not sure how much more of a burden the residents of this town can carry.  Yes it’s only $71 but that might just be the difference between staying in your home or staying in your apartment or living on the street.

Current stats show that Southbridge ranks 280 out of 351 Cities and Town in Massachusetts for property tax but the Town ranks 337th out of 351 for median household income.  We cannot afford another $71.  If we need to raise taxes this much then we need to see some offsetting cuts in the budget.

I call upon our Town Councilors to reconsider this vote and to think about what this will mean to the people of this town.  We are being asked to pay for a new High/Middle school with a price tag of $89 million and rising sewer and water rates, on top of 12.8% unemployment how much more can we be squeezed?

1 Comment

  1. Father, I must vehemently disagree with you here. I am not a fan of increased taxes either. However, the blame is not a single tax rate and the fix is not a mutli tax rate.

    First let me say that the tax rate was not truly set Monday. In reality it was set in May when the budget was passed. I remember colleagues on the council that would vote for every expenditure all year and for the budget and then say "I am not going to vote to raise taxes." Baloney, they already spent the money and now want to get facetime acting like they did not.

    Second, most communities that have multi tiered tax rates are leaving them for a single tax rate. This is because the real solution is not to hurt businesses but to increase jobs. When Southbridge was in it's hay day, the AO was employing 5,000 people. Jobs is the answer. multi-tiered tax rates force new jobs to stay away and current jobs to leave.

    Third, and most important. The state house is the issue. on beacon Hill they are crying poverty and thus cutting "local aid and lottery aid" but increasing their pet projects. Local aid is our money, but since it is collected in Boston, more and more of it stays there. Lottery aid is no longer returned at 100% as was promised, it is now at 70% and dropping. You can not run the town on less money each year.

    Our gov't was set up with Local strong, state limited and federal very limited. We need to get back to that.

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!