Friday’s headlines in the county newspaper ($.75 at your supermarket or newsstand): “Painful year reflected in budget plan for schools”, and “Budget woes may soon push garage rate up”.
The first headline refers to the $62.1 million school budget, 5.6% higher than last year’s budget, which means that the average Principality resident will see their school taxes go up $382 in the Borough, and $288 in the Township, on top of the property tax increases.
The second headline’s about the yet-to-be-finished parking garage. Following the still-unfolding MOASB (Mother Of All Spending Binges), the chairman of the Finance Committee’s quoted as saying, “We are facing a tax impact that is unparalleled in magnitude”. Well, duh. Go $200million in the hole and your creditors will want their payment. Therefore, keep raising those taxes, and look for more revenue. There’s only two misgivings on raising garage fees:
1. Since the garage’s not even finished yet, there’s no way of knowing what the optimal rates would be.
2. Less obvious, however, but maybe as important, is the fact that the building’s on an aquifer (Spring Street was named over the stream that runs through it, not because someone was thinking of the Season). The construction delay was caused because the aquifer had flooded the entire construction site, and the water had to be drained before the building could continue. For how long will a parking building standing in a stream can remain viable for its intended use remains to be ascertained.
But merrily the taxpayer-financed redevelopment projects continue, so another front-page headline assures us that “Panel calls for additional public space in Tulane Street redevelopment project”, which is “part of a partnership between . . . (the) Borough and developer Nassau HKT”. Nassau HKT’s owned by a former Borough Council member.
To all this expense, the newspaper’s editorial states that “Skyrocketing tax rates make case for reform”, as if reform would solve the problem. Taxes, no matter how you “reform” them, will continue to go up as long as the spending continues.
Calling for tax reform instead of cost-containment is just like my bad haircut. I can massage my scalp and condition my hair until I’m blue in the face, but my hair’s not going to grow any faster. It does, however, make me feel like I’m doing something about it.