Letters to the editorWritten by Andrew Warfield
Friday, 27 May 2016 10:49
posted by Joel Krugler
The proposed Cornelius tax increase of 2 cents will, no doubt, be the subject of much (probably heated) debate in town. I suspect that many opponents of the increase are concerned that any tax increase will be an unacceptable burden and a sign of unbridled government growth and spending.Report
While there are legitimate arguments on both sides of this issue, I think that the expected reaction is not even close to being justified by the impact of the increase on Cornelius’s citizens. Further, and more important, we could benefit by a discussion of what we want our town to be and do – and not limit our thinking to “what will it cost”.
Let me start by putting the proposed cost in perspective: it is really VERY SMALL. As has been pointed out elsewhere, a 2 cent increase would cost taxpayers about $50 a year on a median priced Cornelius home of $250,000. That’s $1 a week: it wouldn't cover the cost of one beer a week! While this may not be ignorable to everyone, it can hardly be thought of as financially back-breaking!
But there’s an even more important point: the pride that people take in Cornelius's tax rate being the lowest around is, in my opinion, misplaced. We should take pride in making our town what it should be: one providing top quality services and infrastructure to its citizens and businesses, and one that is attractive, safe and pleasant to live in. Of course we shouldn't squander taxpayer money on unnecessary things - but it should be a source of shame, not pride, if we fail to support a high-quality environment for our citizens.
I will also note, as have others, that we are already hurting from our compulsion to keep town taxes at rock bottom. One consequence is that the town salaries are also rock bottom - and guess what? We've been losing people - from finance to police - to neighboring towns that pay more. If anyone thinks this is good economics - keeping salaries so low that people leave - they may not have done the math. Do they have any idea how much we invest in training (formal or on-the-job) before town employees are fully up to speed? Or the cost of recruiting? Losing people throws away this investment!
There’s nothing new or startling here, but I offer these thoughts in the hope that they may affect how people think about their town and what it’s worth to them!
NOTE: A related note was shared with the Cornelius Town Commissioners several weeks ago.
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