The Imperial Tax

Written by Martin A. Cameron
Saturday, 25 March 2006
Typically a new tax is for the general welfare of all the citizens. However, the “% for Arts” ordinance currently before the council was created for the agenda of a special few. What are the Councilors thinking? Before them are cost issues such as rising employee health and insurance costs, construction and fuel price increases, and huge upcoming water and sewer costs. What of those in town on fixed incomes without funds to pay higher property taxes? This Council is sending a message that they just don’t care. Tell them not to raise your taxes to support the artist welfare society. Click here for contact information.When a government body implements a tax upon the governed body, a town, city, it is done because there is a problem that only a tax that can remedy the situation, be the problem a clogged sewer system, a destroyed school or major water system overhaul .In other words a problem that has to be solved for the health and general welfare of all the citizens of the municipality.

However, when a motion was made to create and impose a tax upon the residents of Portsmouth on 6 Mar 2006 it was not to solve a pending problem, improve public safety, or education. It was being imposed to add some artist rendition to future construction of public buildings in Portsmouth. The present proposal would be 1% of the construction cost over $2,000,000, of city owned projects with general public access, excluded would be sewer, water treatment plants, Madbury reservoir. A $10,000,000 building would add $100,000 to our tax bill. Possibly a job aid supplement for artists?

Taxpayers have to realize these extra taxes are being imposed not through a needed requirement but only created because some special few desire their agenda, not unlike a six year old desiring a new train / a doll or the whim of a king.. Not even King Richard III tea tax was a whim , he required more money for his war with France. The special agenda city councilors promoting this dominant position believe they know ’ what is good for us’ reminds me of the parent, “ eat your spinach, it’s good for you” .

It is a little difficult to comprehend some councilors thinking ,on this ’Imperial Tax,’ they hired an audit team to investigate the overtime in city departments , good procedure, but why replace any savings, if any, with a non productive special agenda tax?

A little later at this same meeting, the council took up an agenda item concerning the dire plight of many of our senior citizens ,some don’t have the funds to pay the property taxes on their property, homes they have lived in for 35 to 80 years. Due to the increase of their Social Security income they are being exempted from the tax exemption criteria, higher food, medicine and fuel bills have added to their financial strait. They are begging the council for assistance, however a new tax will not help.

This puzzles me, Councilors are aware of rising employee health and insurance costs, maybe a million dollars more in fuel bills, pay increases, construction increases, and finally the cities’ elderly financial plight, but they want to impose this whimsical ’art speak ’ tax. The message being sent by this council is, they just don’t care. This is a mandate to support the artist welfare society.

We appreciate the words and stand of Councilor Pantelakos on this issue. Click here to read her opinion and the current status of the ordinance in Adam Leach’s article for the Portsmouth Herald.

I do have a solution for this program, volunteer contributions. Take a line from the IRS Form 1040. On the Portsmouth Tax Bill enter -Do You Want to Contribute to our City Art Program ? Check Here and Enclose a separate check to — Portsmouth Art Trust.’ Thank You. Try it for one year. I promise to enclose my check.

Seniors take note: Telephone city hall– 610-7200– give your name and just say I don’t want this ART TAX, Don’t let this ’acorn’ become a full grown oak.

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