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Tax Impact of Warrants

February 2, 2011

When I first moved to Danville, the town mailed me a sample ballot which listed the warrants and described their impact on the tax rate.  Since then, the government has created a New Calculus by which all warrants have No Tax Impact.  Now, government programs are all free and there is no need to publish this kind of information.

An example of a No Tax Impact government action is Clinton’s COPS program.  Unneeded police officers hired with No Tax Impact have been impacting our tax rate for nearly a generation and will soon be collecting pensions as their replacements continue to impact our tax rates.  Another No Tax Impact program is the Pre-k program initially funded with Obama’s Recovery windfall.  Largely empty rooms require teachers who collect salaries and later pensions.  This was modeled after the hugely unsuccessful No Tax Impact kindergarten program which has declining enrollment despite being ‘free’ and heavily promoted.  To achieve the objective of No Tax Impact, the District cut corners, gutted the program, and pillaged the SAU 55 budget.  Instead of improving the performance of our kids, the legacy of No Tax Impact kindergarten is a perpetually SINI (School in Need of Improvement) high school and middle school.  This will soon result in another kind of tax impact.  So, No Tax Impact is a term of art and voters should be leary of programs promoted as such.  Here’s one…

Article 2011-10 Fire Association Hall – To see if the Town will authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into a purchase agreement in the amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000) for the Fire Association Hall building and its parking lot located on Map 3, Lot 104 containing 1 acre and Map 3, Lot 105 containing 9 acres, for a total of 10 acres and to raise and appropriate One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000) for the purchase of said property with this sum to come from the unreserved fund balance. NO TAX IMPACT

This warrant has HUGE TAX IMPACT.  First, the money is coming from unreserved fund balance.  This money could be refunded to taxpayers or used to offset future spending.  So, the immediate tax impact is that this unspent money will not be used to lower our future tax bills.  Second, if the town takes this parcel of land, it will be forever unavailable to support the tax base.  The parcel in on Main Street.  Should Danville decide to welcome businesses and retailers in the future, this lot would be very attractive.  Taxing a business or retailer would impact our tax rates every single year going forward.  Third, and most important, the intent of purchasing this lot is to build a new police station.  That, too will impact our tax rate every single year as we absorb the cost of construction, maintenance, and staffing of an unnecessary expansion of town government.  For these reasons, I dispute the NO TAX IMPACT descriptor and urge you to vote against purchase of the fire association hall — at any price.

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