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February 29, 2008

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Kathleen Conley Norbut

The proposal is another disingenuous band-aid for the Legislature and the Administration to avoid an honest and comprehensive discussion on taxation in the Commonwealth.

Exempting the seniors as a class based on income and not considering wealth is bogus. There are seniors in the income category suggested by the legislation that have the means to support essential services, whereas there are working families, single parents and non-parents who do not have financial means in property or other investments.

I have suggested putting excise taxes on the table to allow localities to increase revenues that stay local. Stop the gravitational pull to the state house where the returns to communities are not sufficient by anyone's standards.

David Eisenthal

Kathleen,

I also think that the proposal is disingenuous, but for a different reason. I think that few taxpayers will receive benefits under the legislation - so few, in fact, that very few communities will see a meaningful change in their political dynamic on overrides and debt exclusions.

In communities like Monson and West Brookfield, where average tax bills are less than $3,000, I doubt there are many seniors - or any one else - for whom the property tax bill is at least ten percent of gross income. Thus, the legislation would not affect significantly the likelihood of passing an override in these communities.

The legislation could have more of an impact in high tax communities that have significant elderly populations. Newton (average bill over $7,000) and Longmeadow (average bill over $6,000) come to mind. The problem with this legislation in those communities is that, with taxes already high, shifting the burden of increasing taxes onto non-elderly taxpayers is not necessarily going to make passage of overrides more likely.

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