|Written by Administrator|
|Monday, 30 March 2009
APT members voted to postpone the implementation of a tax cap to show good faith for the council to work for a zero budget for FY 2010. The APT has held several meetings on the issue and is ready to revisit the issue if necessary. Had a tax cap been in place from 2002 to 2008 and our budget would have increased 13% instead of 17%. The following is the press release on the topic:At a special meeting of The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers on Thursday, February 26 concerning the proposal of a city spending tax cap for the city of Portsmouth, the members attending unanimously decided to postpone the development and introduction of a tax cap for now. There were various reasons for this postponement but the major reasons centered on the good faith of the city council and other city departments to work for a zero budget for FY 2010 and a recommendation by the city manager John Bohenko for a temporary freeze on all hiring.
The members also felt that the timing was not good due to the present economic crisis and to let the powers of the city electorate do their job and keep spending at a minimum. We scheduled three to four meetings concerning this issue and although deciding not to propose a Cap at this time we felt the Association should research the formalities needed to put together a spending tax cap charter change, and be ready to propose it when and if necessary. Having investigated a few of the towns which have a tax cap, most, especially the towns which have had a cap for some years, felt them to be successful and have not created any drastic changes in the city functions and some of the towns have not had caps long enough to compile information on their impact.
The Taxpayers Association found that tax caps, like the ones proposed in New Hampshire, and throughout the country, regulate the spending capabilities of governmental departments and keep their spending to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which regulates the monetary increase for the country for the year. We also investigated the budget increases for Portsmouth for the years 2002 to 2008 and found that the budget had increased a total of 17%. Had we had a spending cap for those same years our budget would have increased by 13% and we believe would have the same services we have today. Although this does not show a major gap in the two budget figures, it does show the city of Portsmouth did try to keep spending down, but also shows they could have done better for the sake of the taxpayer who needs to be considered each and every year when proposing a city budget. While we have postponed the effort at this time we have not abandoned its consideration knowing there are difficult tax issues still to be faced in the future.
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