Vote with Fairness

We all know there ar no public budget referendums on federal or state taxes, or the tax you pay on your dishwasher, pair of shoes, or Lexus. You can’t vote on the taxes on gas that runs your car or oil that heats your home. In many small towns like Clinton, however, there are referendums on town and education budgets, and some people will always take out all their tax frustration on their town and schools.

Clinton has something additional in our town that not every small town has: an organization that tells us every year that our budgets must fail because they’re extreme [the Clinton Taxpayers Association]. The reality is, in the past four budget years, the average percentage increases in shoreline towns’ education operating budgets were: Westbrook, 4.16; Guilford, 3.11; Old Saybrook, 3.05; Branford, 2.76; Clinton, 1.10; and Madison, 1.08. Extreme? Yes, Clinton is on the extreme end of low increases in the shoreline. Note, most of these towns aren’t in our DRG (demographic group). In our DRG of 24 Connecticut towns, 18 have reported their requested increase for 2015-2016’s education operating budget. One is lower than Clinton’s 1.48 percent. Sixteen are higher. Extreme? Yes, Clinton is also extremely good in our DRG at keeping budget increases low.

This organization also paints Clinton’s mill rate as extreme. The Connecticut Office of Policy and Management reports that of our 24 DRG towns, 18 have higher mill rates. On our part of the shoreline, where Clinton’s assessments are lower, we might expect higher mill rates, but no, Clinton’s rate is 26.27, Guilford’s is 27.42, and Madison’s 25.17. We pay far less tax on a house in Clinton than we’d pay for the same house in Guilford or Madison.

On May 13, let’s vote with fairness on the actual facts.

Leanne M. Barillaro

Published May 06, 2015 –

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