, Salem, MA


October 1, 2012

Letter: CPA is no bargain for Salem

To the editor:

Is it any wonder that citizens are cynical about government these days? Whether that point of view is aimed at local, state, or federal governments.

On Nov. 6, the election ballot in Salem will feature a question which will determine the fate of a new tax in Salem.

Yes, believe it or not, in the current economic climate property owners in Salem are being asked to pony up more cash to pay for a laundry list of projects.

The new tax is known as the Community Preservation Act. The intent of this measure is to provide funding for projects such as renovating historic buildings, maintaining parks and athletic fields, acquiring or preserving open space and creation of affordable housing.

Some may consider these projects worthy of our support. That matter will be sorted out at the polls.

The current proposal would require a 1% surcharge based upon a property owner’s annual tax bill, and

the state would provide matching funds.

Proponents of the CPA have not revealed that this tax could eventually be tripled up to 3%.

It strikes me as being patently unfair that this new levy is aimed solely at property owners. In some circles this legislation is regarded as an “end run” around Proposition 2 ½.

For those inclined to vote in support of this bill because they do not own property in Salem and therefore it is not “a tax on me,” consider this. Economic realities dictate that the costs incurred by the imposition of the CPA tax, will be passed on in terms of higher rents, costs of services originating in Salem and in the price of products sold here. There is no free lunch.

In addition, any “historic property”, open space or privately owned land or buildings acquired by the City of Salem will then be removed from the city’s tax rolls, resulting in even higher taxes for those citizens who still pay taxes.

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