Voters do know what they’re doing

Posted: Friday, September 29, 2006

Tuesday, Oct. 3, we will again be voting in a borough election and, yet again, I will be voting whether to keep the borough sales tax at 2 percent or to allow it to be raised. Thought they had to wait two years after a petition vote to change the results of the vote. Not so. It seems the voters didn’t really know what they were voting for; at least that’s how the rhetoric has been going during the year by people who evidently refuse to accept the results of a public vote.

These same people are also saying last year’s vote on Prop 5, effectively, was a vote to eliminate the senior-disabled veterans property tax exemption, a vote to raise property taxes, a vote to reduce funding to public education, a vote to jeopardize the financial security of the borough, and all sorts of other “end of the world” nonsense. It’s turned into a real food fight.

To make matters worse, on the same proposition vote we are to decide whether to raise the tourist taxes and whether to allow the assembly to tap some “reserve” land fund or whatever it is. Thought propositions could not contain multiple separate subjects on the same proposition. Again, not so it seems.

All of this confusion, name calling and “pending doom talk” is made possible by our local borough elected officials and professional bureaucrats who refuse to do the job they were hired and elected to do.

I can’t straighten out the financial mess years of neglect have caused, I can’t convince the school district to respect the idea of cost containment and get them to please stop adding new programs, and I can’t convince the state to do away with the “three-year qualification” in the public retirement system so the system can operate as a true defined contribution plan. What I can do is try to limit the stream of tax money which feeds the problems that our government can’t seem to bite the bullet and fix, even though it’s fully in their lawful power to do so.

So, again, come election Tuesday, I will be voting to keep the borough sales tax rate at 2 percent, and I do know what I’m voting for, and I do expect the local government to operate on the revenues the tax generates along with the other taxes, and lastly, I’ll thank you to stop insulting me and the rest of the borough voters who decide important public issues via the ballot box by telling us we don’t know what we’re doing.

Bob Merchant


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