Larry O’Donnell wrote an excellent letter to the editor. The CCDO, under Lou Magazzu and now under Bill Whelan like to obfuscate the issue by using terms such as tax rate t confuse the taxpayers. They don’t want you to know exactly how astronomically county spending has increased under their watch, or how much you are paying in property taxes. Lou was great for claiming that he gave the county the biggest tax decrease in county history, when in effect he and the Democrat-contolled Freeholder Board actually raised taxes. The democrats ALL ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to speak up and allow the truth to come out. The following letter is a bit long, but hopefully it will help shed light on how the property tax system works, and how everyone is being soaked for more as we earn less, and Bill Whelan’s CCDO plan to continue doing the same thing they have done for thirty years. Sorry people, you cannot do the same thing you have done for thirty years and expect different results.
Citizens living in Cumberland County deserve county property tax relief. Our citizens are beyond economically stressed — they are desperate. They deserve to be recognized as such and are looking for action, not rhetoric.
It only makes sense that as the wealth of our citizens decline, that our county government reduce the tax levy and get by on less money as well. But as you would expect, that is not the case. The Cumberland County tax levy has remained at the same level for the last three years while the citizen’s ability to pay this tax has spiraled downward.
You’re going to hear all sorts of things from incumbent freeholders. They’ll be sure to tell you how much they’ve cut back, and all the savings they’ve come up with. But their cutbacks do not come close to those made by the private sector and households of our county. When they take to the podium and tell you how much they’ve done, just ask if the tax levy has been reduced, and of course the answer will be “no.”
People, remember the term levy — it is the amount sought by taxation. If it is not reduced, nothing has been done to lessen the tax burden. Our tax levy must be reduced!
Ratables declined in both 2009 and 2010. Ratables are the values government have determined our properties are worth, and the basis for our tax bill. Normally, if your ratable goes down, which would mean your house or property is worth less, you would pay less in property tax. That has not been the case in the last two years because the ratables have declined; yet we are still paying the same amount in taxes. What gives? If the county were to reduce your tax bill, as should have been the case, it would not have taken in enough money to maintain its same level of spending. So, instead of cutting the levy, the county again raised our tax rates. How dare the freeholders.
Folks, declining county ratables (wealth)is not a normal thing. In fact, I have researched back 50 years and found ratables have declined only two times during that period, and that has been the last two years. This freak happening should be a testimonial to how deep the recession is here in Cumberland County, and send a clear message to our freeholders it’s time to cut the levy and share the pain equally with its citizens. It is not business as usual, and county government needs to revise its business plan accordingly.
Cumberland County’s current freeholder board is controlled by Democrats and has been for decades. It’s time for change.Republican Freeholder candidates Bill Gonzalez, Sandy Taylor, Jody Farabella and Mary Gruccio have pledged to reduce our tax burden. I will accept this pledge as genuine, and take it to mean a reduction in our levy. On that basis, I give them my support, and ask that you do so as well by voting for them in November.
Remember, it’s all about levy reduction. Anything else is rhetoric!