Why do we punish the exact people we say we are trying to attract?
Every three years, by law, each town in Rhode Island re-assesses the value of all property. The overall result is a recalibration of property taxes based on how values have changed. All things being equal, half of land owners see an increase and half see a decrease depending upon where in relation to the median value increase they fall.
Half of our neighbors, including myself, were going to see a tax increase no matter what happened with regard to the town and school budgets. Adding an additional 4% increase to those of us already paying more is salt in the wound. It was beyond insensitive for politicians like Abel Collins to parrot the school committee, minimize the pain of higher taxes by saying the additional burden for the schools’s PTT was less than the cost of one cup of coffee per month.
My taxes are going up a total of 15%! Why didn’t Council President Collins state that some of us would already be seeing a large increase due to the reassessment? How many minds would have been changed about the PTT to the school department if he had stated that?
Now it’s $428 more a year for me to live in this town and what do we have to show for it? Empty classrooms in buildings that should be closed? Every wrongly spent dollar today hurts the children’s education of the future including my own. The town council needs to hold the school committee accountable before giving in to them.
Not only is the unnecessary tax increase being wasted partly due to unwise spending, it’s also hurting young families who want to come into the town.
Back in March I wrote a letter to the editor saying that any tax increase hurts younger families trying to start out in this town because property values are high and increases in taxes just compound that issue. Our graduates do not stay here to live because starter homes are too expensive. Why would we increase taxes, making the town more expensive for young families, in order to keep buildings open that we don’t need? Unnecessary tax increases will cause the exact opposite result. Young people just can’t afford to start families here. And that kills enrollment. It’s ironic to me that the council has an affordable housing committee, yet makes a move directly contributing to houses being unaffordable. Maybe next year they’ll start listening to their constituents instead of their political friends.