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The Positive Vision of the 0.9% Budget

Supporters of higher taxes in Tiverton are saying a lot of negative things.  They’re calling people who disagree with them “outsiders,” as if we don’t count in our own community.  They’re threatening to take full-day kindergarten away from children.  They’re lying about what the budgets do.

If you’re interested in the truth on these matters, see the previous post on Tiverton Fact Check.  My purpose, here, is to explain how Budget #2 — the 0.9% budget — is part of a positive vision for Tiverton.

The most important thing about the 0.9% budget is that it starts with the people who live here, not the government that is supposed to serve us.  It starts with our neighbors who are struggling to avoid the fate of the 111 families who lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years. (The most of any city or town in Newport and Bristol Counties.)

The basic assumption of our vision is that when the people of Tiverton are doing well, their government will do well.  If activists think that’s a radical belief, it says more about them than about us.

When you’ve already got the highest tax rate in the area (by a lot), the government gets in a terrible cycle as it attempts to catch up with its unsustainable spending. Every budget becomes a question of how much more pain officials will inflict on taxpayers.

It is up to voters to break this cycle for their own good and for the good of their neighbors.

With Tiverton residents’ taking control of their taxes, through the FTR and last year’s 0.0% budget, the town is finally putting together a list of necessary expenses.  The 0.9% budget will keep the emphasis on tax relief, so the planning process doesn’t put the government before the people again.

After that, we’ll see.  Big changes may be coming, and we’re not that many years away from beginning to pay off the town’s debt, which will free up one-fifth of all municipal spending.

Step 1 was to give the people of Tiverton a fighting chance to control their taxes, with the FTR.  Step 2 is to provide them much-needed tax relief.  Step 3 will be to plan for the future.  Step 4 will be to make sure that new revenue and debt reduction go toward maintaining the town’s assets without returning to burdensome taxes.

To make this positive vision a reality, voters have to ignore the insults, threats, and lies.  Vote for Budget #2, this Saturday at the High School.  It’ll only take a few minutes, and it will make a huge difference for all of us.

 

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Justin Katz

Justin Katz, Vice President of the Tiverton Town Council, is a writer and researcher focusing on Rhode Island policy and politics. For more about Justin, see our About page. justin@justinkatz.com (401) 835-7156.

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