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Friday, May 13, 2005

The big story in my hometown of Enfield, Connecticut (besides the below mentioned execution) has been the contentious town hall meetings where a group of citizens concerned with escalating property taxes have been facing off with town officials. The advocacy group, called the Enfield Taxpayers Association, has been distributing flyers detailing allegations of waste in the school system, and how it will lead to tax rate increases for the coming fiscal year.

I understand the sentiment coming from the group. In fact, on principle, I wholeheartedly agree with them. Taxes in this town are monstrous, and are driving businesses and residents away to other communities. The last proposed budget was for a 3.7% increase in education spending. Each previous budget has had similar increases (at least since I have been here). At some point, the spending increases MUST be replaced or supplemented by a leaner budgetary process, or the consequences will not be good for the town.

That being said, the tactics of the Taxpayers Group don't sit well with me. They supplied in their flyer obviously incorrect information about the number of special education students in the town. In addition, the flyer misstated the average classroom size, making the system appear much less frugal than they should have. Even the group's president tacitly admitted their intent:

"Desperate people do desperate things."

Again, while I agree with the group's stance on taxes, the end in this case does not justify the means. I would prefer that they provide accurate information, emphasizing the unsustainability of the current tax rate increases, and let the residents of Enfield decide based on accurate facts how to proceed. Misinformation only detracts from their credibility, and will accomplish nothing positive.


.: posted by Dave 9:26 AM

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