Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bait & Switch?

Clearly petitioner Vince O'Connor told Amherst Town Meeting that Article #38 was not a vote to increase the Community Preservation Act tax -- I mean "surcharge" -- from 1.5% to 3%. 

It was instead that most cherished of Democratic principals to simply allow the voters of Amherst the God given right to double the tax, err, "surcharge."

But if you read the state "summary" for Question 5 on the November 3 state ballot it clearly gives the impression that Amherst Town Meeting supported the tax increase itself

Kind of like the confusion that takes place every year at Town Meeting when the Finance Committee unanimously supports CPA spending articles.  What they are really supporting is the fact that the appropriation is "an appropriate use of CPA money."  In other words it's not illegal.

But isn't that why we spend $100,000 per year on a Town Attorney?  The Town Attorney does vet Community Preservation Act articles for anything that could be challenged so why do we need the Finance Committee's opinion when they are not legal experts?

Such is the charmed life of all things CPA.


Anonymous said...

I am voting no on the CPA tax increase. Did you see Peter Jessop's quote in the Gazette today? In support of the increase he said it would be nice to have more money for the things people request CPA money for. Well I think it would be nice for me to have more of my own money to spend on things I would like to have. Like heat for my house in the winter.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, he actually used the term last night "free money" to describe the state match (which may be less than 50 cents on the hard earned tax dollar).

Anonymous said...

There was no attempt, in any of the advocacy in Town Meeting, to clarify the distinction between approving the surcharge on the merits, which is what TM was actually doing, and merely approving the placing of the issue of the surcharge on the ballot for voters to decide.

I understood that Town Meeting's yes vote approved the surcharge, because the statute requires such approval as a threshold matter. I don't know what other Town Meeting members were thinking.

Once again, we reach a question that is raised by Town Meeting process again and again: do Town Meeting members know what they are doing? Situations like this are why I voted for the Charter twice.

Rich Morse
Precinct 7

Anonymous said...

What pisses me off is that no matter how much taxes go up, no matter how much rents go up as a result of taxes going up, Vince isn't going to have to pay one penny more for his rent -- he will still only pay 30% of his income.