For Immediate Release
February 18, 2004
Contact: Barbara Anderson - 508-384-0100
We were somewhat surprised to see a major bill going to third reading in a House informal session during vacation week; we have been assured by the House leadership that it will be debated when it returns to be engrossed.
The House Ways & Means Committee redraft of H.4470 exempts low-income seniors from Proposition 2˝ overrides. A similar bill passed previously and was vetoed by acting- Governor Swift. We were opposed then, and we remain opposed.
The intent of this bill is to keep seniors from voting against overrides. Without their help, other taxpayers could lose their battles against higher property taxes, and then would have to pay the seniors’ share of the higher burden too. Young families with mortgages and college loan repayments, saving for their own children’s college costs, their own retirement; lower-income taxpayers who are not yet seniors; unemployed homeowners; people with high medical costs or who are caring for elderly parents; everyone else in town – would have to pay more if the overrides pass, and pick up the share of low-income seniors as well.
Many overrides are “for the children,” i.e., teacher pay raises. If seniors are to be exempt from overrides, then other homeowners who are struggling to pay their existing taxes, water & sewer bills, heating bills, etc.,and who no longer have or never have had children in the schools, should also be exempt from paying for these overrides.
At the very least, if some seniors are to be statutorily exempt from the burden of a Proposition 2˝ override tax increase, they also should be ineligible to participate in making the decision to tax their neighbors more. Call it “Pay to Play.”
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