Letter — Forgo tax increase this year
Editor’s note —This letter was addressed to the Town Council, and shared with the Trumbull Times.
To the editor:
I’m writing in support of the Board of Finance’s recently adopted budget plan, which reduced the first selectman’s modest overall municipal spending increase from 2.7 percent to 2 percent, and Board of Education spending from 3 percent to 2.5 percent.
Importantly, it doesn’t raise taxes for the next fiscal year.
As you consider how you’ll vote, please also consider the (glaringly obvious) context. The town—the country, the world—is enduring a once-in-a-century public health and economic catastrophe. No municipality is exempt from the laws of economic gravity.
Unemployment is already at 15 percent, by far the highest since the Great Depression, and it’s still rising fast. Millions of people are being furloughed and taking pay cuts. Independent contractors are often not reflected in the statistics, but they’re nevertheless seeing their livelihoods grind to a halt. Across our town, the economic pain is real and it’s severe.
What’s more, our tax base has been shaken to its foundations. We don’t know how many closed-up retailers have closed for good. We can’t count on a Grand List that looks like it did in the past.
Perhaps these constituencies aren’t as vocal as some others, but their struggle is quite real.
The Board of Finance preserved an increase in spending. It preserved an increase in school system funding even when many other towns are zeroing out spending. The Board of Finance predicated its assumptions on asking for educators to forego a raise for a single year. With unemployment perhaps approaching 20 percent, that’s a strikingly small request.
For some in our community to be urging anything approaching a spending-as-usual formula or a tax increase in these circumstances is most unfortunate.
You’ll have nobly done your duty as town volunteers, to the community and to the school system, if you follow the lead of the Board of Finance and increase school spending within prudent limits and forego any tax increase on our residents and businesses this year.
Tony Silber (D)
Planning & Zoning Commission
Inland Wetlands Commission
Community Facilities Building Commission