This time it's the staid Finance Committee disingenuously spinning figures to aid town officials in their faltering battle to raise taxes.
According to their unanimously approved manifesto, the FinCom lays the blame on Prop 2.5, which Amherst overwhelmingly voted against 30 years ago: "Even with careful management, costs for local communities to provide education, libraries,public safety and other community services increase at an inflation rate greater than 2.5 percent."
But our supposed watchdog financial consultants are conveniently forgetting "new growth" allowed by Prop 2.5. The Facilitation of Community Choices Committee recognized that in their financial report two years ago by clearly pointing out:
"Prop 2.5 allows for an annual increase in property taxes of 2.5% plus any new growth in taxable property such as new construction or additions.
Amherst has averaged 1.5% per year during the last ten years for a total average increase of 4% in the tax base."
And last I looked, inflation was below 4% over the past ten years--and in 2009 almost 0%.
Particularly troubling, rookie Finance Committee Chair Andy Steinberg (also a long-time Town Meeting member) was a member of the FCCC and present on the day the discussion of "new growth" took place.