Here’s an interesting milestone over here in the East Bay, as I wrote on Tiverton Fact Check
Looking at the actual comparison for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, if Budget #2wins at this week’s FTR, Tiverton’s tax rate is projected to be $15.96. Meanwhile, the proposed budget in Portsmouth is projected to bring that town’s tax rate to $15.97, and taxpayer advocates tell Tiverton Fact Check that the proposal is likely to be accepted.
Matching Portsmouth’s rate shouldn’t be the finish line for Tiverton, but it is a major milestone. Notably, the comparison should take some of the shackles off of the high-end real estate market in Tiverton and help to balance out the tax burden around town.
Obviously, I’m observing these tax trends in the thick of a budget battle (with voting in Tiverton’s financial town referendum going on today, tomorrow, and Saturday), but in general, it’s disappointing that we don’t have these discussions more often at the local level. Many factors can move what might be seen as a theoretically appropriate tax rate up or down, but comparisons from town to town do make a difference.
More importantly, we’d all be much better off (and maybe even more civil) if we were more thoroughly conversant about why various government numbers matter.