August 11, 2020
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The Caring Community?

Published April 29, 2020

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In addition to the present health crisis there are many (including in our own community) unexpectedly facing a dire financial crisis. They have lost their incomes, healthcare, and benefits and are scrambling to find ways to keep their bills and taxes paid. What’s worse, there seems no end in sight and it’s likely to be many years before we can regain all losses.

Despite this calamity the town is proposing making matters even worse by further increasing our taxes, and our Board of Finance (BOF) is presently deliberating.

We’re told savings are impossible because 80 percent of the budget is fixed. Presumably that means pay and salary increases are “baked in” and the town and school employees cannot lose. This in itself is unconscionable and makes the BOF somewhat irrelevant. Why should public sector employees be insulated from the realities of our economy, while the taxpayers who are funding them are not?

Taxpayers should not be held hostage by the unions. The town negotiates on our behalf, and taxpayers need to be defended from collective blackmail.

The unions need be given a choice, through which the town will spend no more this year than last. This means the unions can either maintain all employee positions with no pay raise this year, or receive pay raises with a reduction of positions to compensate. Their choice would be just like those being made everywhere in the private sector.

The BOF is the last line of defense for the otherwise undefended taxpayer. I urge and request that the members stand strong and take the ethically reasonable position: No tax increase this year!

If not, we will know that Guilford is not the caring community always claimed and I hope the town and school employees are suitably embarrassed to accept their raises.

David Roberts