SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 8, 2013

Letter: Go to Town Meeting — and don’t be a cash cow


The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Town Meeting is coming. You have a right to know where your tax dollars are going and have been used. Or are you the cash cow who just keeps giving?

Are you a younger group who pays property taxes and has to pay fees, like add-ons for school bus fees, which are not deductible. Are you a cash cow?

Are you middle-age folks who have been and are still struggling to keep up with expenses and higher education costs? Are you a cash cow?

Seniors — still trying to keep up with real estate taxes, yet read about housing subsidies being subsidized with your tax dollars. Tax you out of your home and then subsidize affordable housing. Are you a cash cow?

Town growth is down.

Town expenses are up.

Been here for 10 years?

Tax rate, per Mass. Dept. of Revenue, shows Ipswich taxes are up 27 percent. Is your income up 27 percent?

You have a right to know why it’s “spend and then tax.” Why? Are you a cash cow?

Do you the taxpayer know what free cash means? This year over $1 million is available, after it’s certified by the state D.O.R.

Do you understand the reason for Prop 21/2 and what it was meant to do? This year over $600,000 is automatic to the town. Is this the way you remember it’s supposed to work? It’s a barometer to slow or stop tax increases and to protect against possible override.

Did you vote to lend the School Committee $800,000 to pay legal expenses? They have paid back $575K so far; where is that money?

This year over $2 million could be used for tax relief. This is taxpayer money and it is the taxpayers’ choice on how it could be used. Have you been asked? Are you a cash cow? Where are or what have these dollars been spent on?

Who is advocating for you the taxpayer? Who is or are the oversight people watching out for your needs and your money and how it is being spent? Are you a cash cow?

Come to the Town Meeting Tuesday, May 14. Download the warrant or get a copy at the Town Hall, read it and bring it with you for questions to the meeting. If you don’t understand anything, stand up and ask your questions and/or make your comments.

As a citizen and taxpayer you have a right to know where every dollar is spent. If you look at the budget, consider it like your home or business budget and could you do without or put off until better times? It is your business and you can say no or ask for more explanation.

Keep in mind, regardless of what name it’s called, debt exclusion, bond etc., that it is money that has to be paid back with your taxes. Do you the taxpayer know how much of your taxes go for interest and would you go deeper in debt?

Be responsible! Ask your elected officials to be financially responsible and answer to you, the taxpayer/citizen.

Demand full disclosure, not half answers or non-answers. Don’t be a cash cow. Insist on accountability.

This is a well-intentioned letter to inform the community. Please! Go to Town Meeting and don’t let anyone or special interest group intimidate or discourage you. You are the town!

Phil Goguen

Ipswich