May 12, 2010

Bringing the Town to the State's Attention

Justin Katz

I've got an op-ed in today's Providence Journal placing Tiverton's budget battles in the context of community and different notions thereof.

In one version of "community," it's a good thing to be a slob, thereby creating a need for other residents to pay somebody to clean up, and it's a bad thing to take an idle moment to clean where children play.
Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

This is another example of how far the Providence Journal has slipped into irrelevance. It publishes a rehashed blog post as an editorial instead of having it appear in the lettrs to the editor section. Where are its standards?

Posted by: Phil at May 12, 2010 11:20 AM

Here are the real facts from an independent source for the TCC (aka a-holes against kids) to chew on. The real residents of Tiverton will prevail on Saturday. I just don't understand how a parent of 3 kids in Tiverton can care more about himself than his kids. Oh, that's right, his kids go to private schools. Read below. I am not a Townie. I am a Tiger, not an outsider from Portsmouth.

Ken Welchman

5/11/10 10:26AM | 1041 views Talk of 22 % Tiverton tax hike is pure fiction Article Tools
To the editor:

After several calls to my office following Saturday’s Financial Town Meeting, I was taken aback by the assertion that taxes were going to increase 22% if the schools received the money they’re requesting. I informed them that during the meeting, I keep track in real time any motions made that deviate from the recommended Budget Committee’s budget, and at no time did any motion on the floor exceed 7.31%.

I asked where they came up with the 22% number and they stated that TCC was telling them this. I followed up by visiting the TCC website where there is a letter from David Nelson, president of the TCC, in which he twice states that support for the School Committee’s budget would cause a 22% increase in taxes. This is simply not true. Before I go any further, please let me explain to the residents that, as tax assessor, I take no stand on any budget, nor do I endorse anyone’s plan or motion. I am not a resident of this town and my only reason for sending this letter is to let the residents know that a 22% tax increase is impossible.

The School Committee’s requested budget and Mrs. Deb Pallasch’s motion both contain state aid monies which cannot be factored in to the tax levy. Let me repeat, it cannot be factored into the tax levy. It would be illegal for me to do so. I cannot tax the residents of the town for state funds, never mind state funds that are in the Governor’s budget!

One could argue that the state has short-changed the town recently, and they have, but to assume going from almost $5 million in promised state aid to zero is ridiculous and extremely reckless in scaring residents on fixed incomes. What Mr. Nelson fails to explain, for whatever reason, is that the 22% increase comes from using last year’s local appropriation only, then taking the School Committee’s and Mrs. Pallasch’s motion of local tax money, plus state aid money, which would make the increase in the two budgets extreme. This is apples to oranges and totally disingenuous.

The proper percentage calculation would be to use last year’s local appropriation, plus state aid, then compare the two years. Doing so you’ll find the increase between the two years is 2.89%, not 22%!

I know that taxation is a very emotional and volatile issue. Believe me I know. I see firsthand the impact on seniors with fixed incomes fighting to save their homes. I hear from the struggling young families. These are tough times for all. However, again, as tax assessor I am not taking a stand on any motion or budget, that is for the residents to decide. But I don’t think it’s fair to scare residents to the point of them literally crying on the phone to me because they are being told of a 22% tax increase and they will lose their home. That simply is not the case. My door is always open for anyone who wishes to discuss the impact of any budget on their property tax

David Robert

Tiverton Tax Assessor

Posted by: Ken welchman at May 12, 2010 8:15 PM

Actually, Mr. Robert was unaware of the dispute that's actually in question. See here for my response. It's a shame that the tax assessor has decided to make his a political position.

By the way, just because a parent has children in the school does not mean that he or she has to assist the district in transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars from struggling residents to well-paid employees.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 12, 2010 8:26 PM

I've taken a 14% reduction in pay in the past two years. My wife's place of employment closed, and she's earning significantly less, with greater costs, this year.

This is most likely the only honest thing that you have written of late.

Posted by: Phil at May 12, 2010 9:55 PM

"(aka a-holes against kids)"

Have any teacher raises in Tiverton over the last, say, three decades, ever been tied to student achievement?

Will one dollar of the currently proposed tax hike be tied to student achievement?

You need to update your p.r. lines, friend. The wail of "It's for the chiii-hilll-dren" became a laugh out loud punch line years ago.

Posted by: Monique at May 12, 2010 10:03 PM

There is a very, very strong class/ caste dynamic in Rhode Island. It has been reinforced with each wave of immigration. The general idea is, if you have been here a long time, you are entitled. Newcomers don't speak the same language. They don't look or dress the same. Newcomers clean up and take care of the physical labor.

The problem with you, Justin, is that as a newcomer, as an recent immigrant you want an equal say along with everyone else in the community about how your money is being spent. And, you do speak the same language and look like lots of the people who have been here a long time. That inteferes with the class/caste system. And, you make it even more confusing by cleaning up after the people who are 'entitled'.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at May 13, 2010 11:42 AM

TCC must stand for trash collecting citizen.

Posted by: Phil at May 13, 2010 4:36 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.