HIDDEN CONSEQUENCES: LESSONS FROM MASSACHUSETTS FOR STATES CONSIDERING A PROPERTY TAX CAP, is a report issued by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in May. In part, it summarizes:
“Across Massachusetts, a number of communities have been forced to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public employees; close fire stations; shut libraries, senior centers, and recreation centers or sharply reduce their hours; and scale back public school programs. One town even turned off its street lights to save money,” said Iris Lav, the Center’s deputy director and co-author of the report.
According to the report, Proposition 2 ½, which limits the growth in communities’ property tax revenue for all services including education to 2.5 percent a year, has:
- Arbitrarily constrained local revenues without considering the actual cost of providing services. “The fundamental problem with property tax caps is that they don’t make public services any less expensive,” said Lav. ”Costs like employee health insurance and special education are largely beyond localities’ control, and they’re rising much faster than the cap allows. Nor does the cap hold down the cost of heating buildings and operating school buses when oil prices are skyrocketing.” When these things occur, as they have in Massachusetts, other services have to be cut to fit total expenditures under the cap.
Read the full posting on the Franklin School Committee blog
Read the full report as referenced here.
I wonder who did this study to come to that conclusion? It should be said also that Prop 2.5 does more than that.ReplyDelete
It protects the citizens from the wealthy that raise the taxes on the living poor & middle class.
It protects us from people that would not give it a second thought in putting their hands in our pocket and taking everything that we make.
It protects us from those with poor judgment and agendas from spending more than necessary. It protects us from a town of money hungry authorities that would not give it a second thought and carte blanche to our wallets, for any little thing.
For one thing it assures the citizens of this state that our 'fearless' leaders with our money will not take every hard earn dime we are able to make.
If it was up to towns they would generally have no conscience in raising taxes, and still eliminate services.
The people with money hardly ever spend a dime of their own, and have their hands out to grab more of yours.
I trust the people in government as much as I would trust a hungry great white.
I gather that you did not bother to read the actual report. If you had followed the link through to read the report, you would find that it was published by:ReplyDelete
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is one of the nation’s premier policy organizations working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
The Center conducts research and analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that the needs of low-income families and individuals are considered in these debates. We also develop policy options to alleviate poverty.
In addition, the Center examines the short- and long-term impacts that proposed policies would have on the health of the economy and on the soundness of federal and state budgets. Among the issues we explore are whether federal and state governments are fiscally sound and have sufficient revenue to address critical priorities, both for low-income populations and for the nation as a whole.
Over the past two decades, the Center has gained a reputation for producing materials that are balanced, authoritative, accessible to non-specialists, and responsive to issues currently before the country. Our materials are used by policymakers and non-profit organizations across the political spectrum, as well as by journalists from a variety of media outlets.
I take it that these are Unbiased reports and non-partisan findings?ReplyDelete
I question all techniques and authorities for most if not all findings.
For this reason(s): Fudging numbers is not beyond the scope of any individual(s) especially the government. People can put information into their own context.
Any information that is generated for the government is suspect.
Most citizens are tired of having the government, or any group, business, organization hired by or for the benefit of the government, tell the citizens what is good /bad for them.
Due to the people in government from the Prez. down, we are stressed. Lack of jobs, gasoline, etc.. I am sure you have heard/read them all, no need to list them... We have stressed, foreclosed on/kicked people out of their homes. We have taxed homeowners to the max for different agendas forced on the citizens by government, and especially special interest and lobbyist.
Proposition 2.5 is an assured ceiling and defends people from being locked out of their homes, so they can put food on the table, and to keep them from being over taxed, or becoming another family/individual that the State will have to support, and keep from living in some tent someplace(if they are lucky).
What I am saying is: People with influence use that influence to help themselves (generally speaking), otherwise respect & responsibility would be at the forefront of our lives today, which they are not.
We the people do not trust government as far as we could throw them, and any group / company /organization that has dealings with the government, like being hired by or asked to do things for, are suspect.
We should not believe or put our trust in everything we hear/read that is for the benefit of the wealthy or government.
Anyone particular point of view can be "biased". In this case "the Center has gained a reputation for producing materials that are balanced, authoritative, accessible to non-specialists, and responsive to issues currently before the country"ReplyDelete
The key for me is "balanced". The group approaches a study intending to cover both sides of the story (and there are always two sides to a story) and produces a balanced representation of the issue.
Now, one can accept the "balance" and work with it, or work to change it further.
I believe the power is in the people. The people make the government. Yes, there are elected and appointed officials who conduct the business but as so designated upon our behalf. If we stay involved in the discussion on the issue, we can ensure our say, ensure that there is balance, ensure that what is done we approve of. If we stay on the sidelines, if we don't get involved, then we need to live with what happens.
Jeff Nutting has been consistent in saying that in MA we have two choices: we pay higher taxes to maintain a level service or we reduce service. Those are the only levers we have. The real issues we need to address: (1) the overall state of the economy, we have no direct impact on. (2) the amount of state aid to the local communities, and how the local communities are funded (only via property taxes) we can address - yes, it is fighting "city hall" but we need to try. If we don't attempt to change the funding mechanisms, all communities in MA will continue to go down the road to ruin.
Seeing you mentioned Franklin(Nutting) he seems to be a hard working guy, but then again he is influenced by his bosses the Town Council each with their own agendas. I would rather elect a Mayor of Franklin, than to have 9 different agendas.ReplyDelete
Prop. 2.5 is a ruse in the states that have it. The State Legislature & Senate, the Federal Legislature & Senate can vote themselves a raise. The individual towns & cities can hide a tax hike /fees anytime they wish to put it forth on a ballot.
They(gov) constantly bombard us with ways to take more money from us. Prop 2.5 is the Only way we can safeguard some reasonable solution without overburden us more than they already do.
It SHOULD have sent a message along time ago to the governing bodies of the state, to look into adjusting their wasteful spending (BIG DIG).
We, The United States is turning swiftly into a country for service industry, not the types of jobs we once held, they are all over seas or neighboring countries.
There is a total resistance by Vehicle manufacturers and big oil to produce vehicles that get 50mpg but yet our government inches it up every now and then ..they are saying 25mpg.
Honesty & Loyalty from the people in government must change drastically to represent the people...All the people. Nothing has changed from the Classes. Most of us are just serfs and then there is the rich. Unbalanced wealth.
The educational system and its format must change, and the idea that everyone must chip in so everyone elses child gets an education. This is what is keeping our educational process from expanding, and being better.
All topics that you can think of dealing with finances - link to the econoy, it is a domino affect.
You cannot keep taking from the well, the well will run dry, then the house of cards will fall.
When you say: "The educational system and its format must change, and the idea that everyone must chip in so everyone elses child gets an education. This is what is keeping our educational process from expanding, and being better."ReplyDelete
How would you change the system? What would the new one look like?
“How would you change the system? What would the new one look like?”ReplyDelete
As I mentioned Prop 2.5 is a ruse... As long as they do not look for anything higher than 2.5 percent they do not need approval by the taxpayers. The educational system is broken because we still go under the premise that every homeowner/taxpayer in the country pays for the schools, even if you do not have a child attending. The way I would finance the schools, I would take what is good about private schools and add it to the public format. How? Have the parents/guardians of the students pay for the teachers through their property tax or on a fee based.
Make the parents more responsible for their own children, if their children are attending public school then they should be paying more for that service. I am sure our forefathers meant to ‘Provide For’ an education, not totally pay for it. In those times the dollar value associated was far less than it is today, with not as many kids going to school because most were too busy tending to their family needs. Horace Mann did not envision Unions dictating to the taxpayers, and teachers saying its for the good of the children, when we all know they chose to be teachers, and when someone is not happy in their job, find another. The educational system should change with the times, not the times change for the educational system.
The United States has become more of a service industry due to fewer jobs, and the manufacturing jobs going to other countries. Schools are a service that is provided in every city and town across America, so we should treat it as such, and pay as you go. College fits that billing to a ‘T’, and we do not see too many good colleges failing to come up with the dollars needed to pay for the service they provide. Create a partnership with a college, and they provide the helping hand in the education of the children, by helping with the study courses needed to get into college.
I know that this does not take into account the poor who cannot afford it; this is where the State comes in along with the Federal government. We the people of Massachusetts are paying for kids to go to Community College which is a collaborative effort where all taxpayers pay the bill. There is nothing wrong with these schools, and if anything a better alternative for many who cannot afford the price of Harvard, Yale, Brown, or Princeton.
A beneficial byproduct of this would be allowing the elderly to have the ability to stay in their own homes. Once they cannot afford to stay in them they become a burden for all us in paying the insurance industry more in LTC/LTD. In some cases, once the elderly are placed in a ‘home’ they are depressed become very withdrawn they do not live as long as they would of if they could have remained in their own home. Then they become a burden for every taxpayer and the cost to Medicare and other such departments. It has been proven in different studies that elderly left to their vices by staying in their own homes, feel more productive which puts a positive affect on their lives. The ability to stay in their own home longer still is beneficial for the town. Instead of pushing them out of their homes by overburdening them with more property tax because more people voted for the override of Prop 2.5, than voted against.
Across the board the system would be more fair, parents paying through their property taxes for the schools and teachers, and the people who do not have children are not paying for the teachers.
"parents paying through their property taxes for the schools and teachers, and the people who do not have children are not paying for the teachers"ReplyDelete
Do you realize this is a slippery slope to tread?
Follow that same logic and you get usage fees for everything. So check out a book at the library and pay for what it cost to do so. Get an emergency call from the police or fire and pay for what it takes to respond and provide the care. And the seniors would have to bear the burden of the cost for operating the Senior Center, just as parent would bear the burden of the cost for educating their children.
Unfortunately this slippery slope will further divide this country. It was founded upon equality for all. A commonwealth used for the good of all.
I would not take this usage fee path. The seniors who already have a tight income would be less able to afford to live in such a world.
What I do think is necessary is getting involved and better understanding all our options, then making the decision for the good of all; and not making decisions to benefit specialty groups.
"Slippery Slope" I correalate what we have to; My family of 4 taking a 1st class plane ride to England, spend 2 weeks in a 5 class hotel, board a 1st class ride back on a cruise line, and then have all the people in town pay for it.ReplyDelete
If the user of the system pays for the buildings and teachers, and the non-user helps pay for the buildings, then this would not be a slippery slope, but a positive for all.
If as I mentioned school systems in every city and town would enter into a partnership with a college then this would be a benefit for all students. The parents would undoubtedly benefit too from experience of a learned college staff with a better notion on how students should learn, and what.
The way things have always been a child graduates(if lucky) from high school, and if lucky goes to college, then it is like a deer in the headlights. They are lost and confused, and then in an auditorium with 200 other students.
There is no expectations that the child will be in a class of 15 students, so it is up to them to learn. The responsibility falls on the student, where it should be.
Steve, a fee based system is where it should be. I wouldn't mind paying for the fire dept. to come to my rescue if my house is about to burn down.ReplyDelete
If the police did their job by giving out tickets to the people who speed or tailgate the accident rate would be lower.
We have a fee based society as it is.. you pay property taxes - water and sewer tax < fees vs tax > what's the difference... it is still a sum of money you pay for the service provided according to your usage.. not your next door neighbors usage..but yours. The more homes that are foreclosed upon the more in taxes you will pay to make up the difference of no one being in the empty homes.
It does not matter what you call property taxes.. you are paying indirectly for services the town provides whether you use them or not. The electric company charges you a fee on usage.
They are all FEES but they get away with calling it taxes because it rated on your 'personal' asset.. your home/property.
The government figures the more home you have the more property you have, then the more money you can afford to pay for the services in town.
(1) what would you define as community?
(2) what would be acceptable for the community to fund?
(1) what would you define as community?
Steve, Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The concept of community has caused infinite debate,sociologists have yet to reach an agreement on a definition of the term.
The citizens of a 'community' have no affinity for each other, and relationships are formal or superficial. On the other hand, one could have as a community: The active participants enjoy one another and look forward to time spent together.
The overall scheme of things is that most communities with it have a 'common' thread - that each and every person within it have their own specific needs and wants, that one group within the community should not be forcing other groups to follow their immediate goals without the consideration of others and their views.
A community is a common group of people where the goals are group specific. We can identify this by religious beliefs ie: Catholic, Jewish, etc.. But a Town / City are made up of all types, and each person has their own goals and beliefs.
What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Forcing your beliefs upon another is not only unfair but in some cases illegal.
(2) what would be acceptable for the community to fund?"
The 'right' to an education is the right of every individual under the Constitution/Bill of Rights. However.. no one has the right to trespas on anothers right to live.
You have the right to an education but you have no right to ask others to pay for it, this is where you infringe upon another right to choose or select where their money is going.
Money raised in a town should be spent for the good of All the people in the town unaminously.
Safety issues..police,fire, keeping the roads in good shape.
Individual needs should be paid for by the individuals that want something. Such as waste/trash water... The town should only make things accessible for use.
"A community is a common group of people where the goals are group specific." So if a group did get together, and generate an agreement around a common goal or set of goals, that would be okay?ReplyDelete
Steve:""A community is a common group of people where the goals are group specific." So if a group did get together, and generate an agreement around a common goal or set of goals, that would be okay?"ReplyDelete
A community is of like minds seeking like goals ie: a group of people. For instance The Boy Scouts of America - Girlscouts - They are a 'community' with certain goals in mind.
A town is made up of 'different' communities meaning different common goals & ideals which seek unto themselves specifically what they want/need.
Think of a piece of string with all different sizes of knots on the string..at first when you see the string rolled up into a ball it looks the same throughout. Take the string and lay it lengthwise and then you will notice that the knots are not of equal size. The different size knots being the communities or groups (people with different ideals & goals) within a certain town. A community is complex not everyone is seeking the same set of goals or ideals as the next 'group/community'. A group of people with a common background or with shared interests within society is a community.
Not all people within a town share the same interests within the town.
A town is not a community unless all of its residence share the same inspirations and goals.
Communities make up a town - but a town does not make a community. There is no way on this green & blue earth that one could get everyone in Franklin to share the same inspirations & goals pertaining to building a school. That would be a Community of like ideas,beliefs,and goals. If you could get all 30,000 - 31,000 citizens to believe in what you believe then you would have a town that in its entirety a community. Community = Common goals.
Getting all 30,000 would be wonderful.ReplyDelete
"We, the people of the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts, in order to form a more perfect community, reaffirm the customary and traditional liberties of the people with respect to the conduct of our local government and take fullest advantage of the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, do ordain and adopt this Home Rule Charter for our Town."
"We, the people" - you and I are but part of that group but we are part of the process to govern this town.
The current town mission statement is:
"It is the mission of the Town of Franklin's governmental entities to provide all of its citizens with the greatest possible spectrum of basic services, directed at publicly expressed community needs, at the least possible cost.
This includes providing the children of our community with the ability to attain a higher plane of achievement within the school system, the less fortunate with a variety of assistance and support programs, the elderly with services directed to meet their ever increasing leisure and health needs, and the public as a whole with a high degree of services from infrastructure support to recreational possibilities.
As a corollary strategy to providing excellent services, the adequate maintenance of existing facilities must also be accomplished on a priority basis. All this must be concluded within the scope of affordability in order not to burden our taxpayers beyond their capacity to pay."
It seems you would like to revise this mission statement.
Steve:"All this must be concluded within the scope of affordability in order not to burden our taxpayers beyond their capacity to pay."ReplyDelete
Exactly the point is "Affordability". There is no more of a bigger issue when it deals with individuals. What a person can afford is directly related to what their income is. Those who wish the education and can afford it should pay for it. Those who can afford the extravagant homes,cars,and the education pay for it. We as citizens of a specific town most can not afford to do the same purchases.
One can not force people who are barely making a living or out of work to pay for an extravagants such as new schools, teachers, maintainence,etc., when people cannot afford to do so, unless you are willing to pay more in 'state' taxes to pay for their needs on the other end.. such as welfare that they will need, and medical help once you throw them out of their homes that they are barely existing in due to higher cost.
In this economic crisis there is a responsibility for government to assure that people get to stay in their homes, because without the people in their homes there is no tax benefit even if the money from the taxes is lower than if they raised them to build a new school.
Steve:"We, the people" - you and I are but part of that group but we are part of the process to govern this town."
We are mearly people we do not govern the town it is a representative form of government and without a direct ruling from each person that lives in town, we have no democracy. The Town Council has their own agendas even though they may go through the process of 'listening' to you, there is nothing one person can do to change 9 minds. There is no Community in the town of Franklin as a whole, there are different sects within Franklin or in any town.. but as a whole there is no community. Community refers to people of 'LIKE' minds and 'Beliefs'. Not everyone in the town of Franklin believes in the same issues as you or I do, nor does everyone have the same beliefs...so there is no 'community' or 'Common' sect in Franklin.
As for the 'agreement' :"We, the people of the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts, in order to form a more perfect community, reaffirm the customary and traditional liberties of the people with respect to the conduct of our local government and take fullest advantage of the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, do ordain and adopt this Home Rule Charter for our Town."
I am a firm believer in the Mayoral system of government / city government. I believe that 9 people or more have their agendas. 9 different people is a recipe for alleged unscrupulous behavior.. such as our old town administrator (Ethics) Wolfgang Bauer and a contractor in town.
I have been in this town since January of 1966.. although I do not know what is going on all the time in this town, I do believe things are being done that are allegedly not above board... Too many issues in the history of the government of Franklin that I cannot trust them as far as I could throw any individual.
Agenda can be good and bad...
There are school buildings out there in other towns that are well over 100 years old that are fine for kids, but for some reason a 37 year old school isn't good enough for the well-to-do people in Franklin.
Harvard, Yale, M.I.T, are great schools with the best education you can afford, and they are in buildings well over 70 years old.. but it seems some Franklin well-to-do people want to keep up with the Joneses.. It isn't the building that gives the child an education it is the Teachers/educators.. if you higher crap to teach the kids you get crap back.
The schools I mentioned I think many would not disagree with the educational process and the education that it represents to be one of the best. Yet, their not vying for new schools every other year or so because their buildings are falling apart. They have people that work for them with great talent as far as electricians, plumpers, carpenters within the school system to keep the buildings maintained.. What does Franklin have .. sweepers and cleaners? We have in town a better school system Tri-County where Franklin has at its disposal teachers and students who would jump at the chance to learn more by doing some of the maintainence in the schools.
It isn't the building where the education comes from, it is the capabilities of the educational work force.
Everyone in the town of Franklin is suppose to have a voice that is represented by the 9 people who do not speak the same language as the voters. The same with the School Committee who are worse than the 9 town council.
Spending my money of schools I would never agree to do for we have enough schools.. what we need is people willing to pay their way for an education instead of depending on others to pay for it for them... I have a one paycheck home.. I am disabled with no money coming in.. just waiting for the 70 year mark...I am stuck in limbo ... those with money should pay their way.. The poor and lower middle income groups have been pushed to the limit.. its about time the ones with money put their money where their collective mouth is.