I’m not sure what one of the selectmen is trying to do by pushing the message about our citizens and taxpayers falling on tough times and not being able to pay their tax bills/water and sewer bills on time. The innuendo is being pushed that those who have fallen on tough times are dead beats and trying to “game the system”. Although this economy is tough on all of us my family was lucky enough not to have fallen on times as tough as some and our bill is paid.
I am probably one of the most fiscally conservative people when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars you’ll find. I will spend money on stuff we need; but, not always on what we want. Tax dollars do not belong to anyone but the taxpayers, plain and simple and it is governments responsibility to spend as few of them as possible to keep government running, understanding that government needs that tax revenue to run. Let’s use Obama’s line, this is a teachable issue. As a town we need to cut back on spending because our revenue stream is not there. This isn’t the state where phony revenue projections are used to balance a bogus budget.
People can argue over the current way we raise our tax dollars, property taxes vs. income and sales tax; but, the bottom line is if people are having a hard time paying their property taxes they probably would have a hard time paying their income taxes because they don’t have any money.
Holding them up to public embarrassment and perhaps scorn is not the way to increase the money flow into our town coffers, in fact it is kicking someone when they are down. This is public information and people have a right to know who is not paying their taxes and can go to the town offices and see the info; but, this time it is a little different when the local paper puts it on the front page and we don’t see the same treatment for other towns. The question needs to be asked, “What is the agenda here and who is behind it”, because this is not how to collect delinquent tax revenues.
Exeter is a caring town, a tolerant town and a generous town to a point. Three million dollars is a lot of money to be owed and we all share in the fact that the town is down that 3 million; but, again we have a process to collect this and we should; but, if people don’t have the money right now, then they don’t have the money right now. We shouldn’t be putting them under more financial or emotional stress by holding them up for public embarrassment or ridicule.
We have a statutory procedure on how to deal with the non payment of property taxes and it doesn’t include intentionally embarrassing the taxpayers who are behind in their payments nor will it help bring in the payments due.
As a country we will pull out of this recession and as a community we will survive. For those of you who are having a tough time I can only say don’t give up, keep the faith and we will come through this OK. No matter if you’re a town official or not, this will give you a better understanding of what tough times are. I can’t say it will make you a better person; but, it will make you a wiser and more compassionate person.
Let’s stop trying to get cheap name time in the newspapers and understand that we are still in the worst recession since the great depression and people are feeling the pain, some are feeling a lot of pain, member(s) of the board of selectman need not capitalize on this for political gain.