A Strategy for Reducing the Local Budget Request


As I mentioned last week, some folks in Tiverton aren’t happy that the budget I put forward to offer local taxpayers a lower-tax option put the burden of finding the savings back on the town officials who actually have the authority to make the decisions (and the help of multiple well-paid employees whose job it is to manage the town’s finances).  During the campaign, however, I did promise to help the Budget Committee, and though its members have not yet asked for that help, here are $1.7 million in reductions that they can use as a starting point.

The committee can take that list and remove or reduce almost $1 million of the items on it to meet the requirements of the people’s budget.  The incessant growth of labor costs and the massive amount of debt that a relatively small minority of residents have managed to foist on us all have brought us to the point that elected officials must begin to assert their priorities, rather than assume that taxpayers will just continue to accept the bill.

The text at the link above makes a point that probably applies in most communities throughout Rhode Island and its fellow blue states:

Voters whose own priorities are displaced by the decisions of the Budget Committee and Town Council should remember an important point: The town’s budget has never gone down, in our memory, and even a 0.9% increase in taxes is an increase. If some town service or grant that you value is no longer funded come July, it was not displaced by small tax increases, but by the town government’s priority to maintain the rampant overspending of past years.

The familiar tricks have to end.  There are some basics that government should provide, and there are some things for which we feel morally responsible as a community.  Healthy communities manage to accomplish those things without the crushing weight of insider deals and corruption and without forcing everybody to fund a small group’s priorities because they’ve taken control of the police and taxing powers of government.