Submitted by Laura Gladstone for Fiscal Freedom for CT, May 21, 2018
On Monday night, along party lines in the Board of Estimation and Taxation (BET), Democrats voted against returning $3 MM of a $9.8 MM SURPLUS in the general fund to the hardworking taxpayers of Connecticut and reduce the mill rate – your money.
Jill Oberlander, Leslie Moriarty, David Weisbrod, Beth Krumeich, Jeffrey Ramer and Tony Turner all voted against reducing the mill rate by a measly 0.82% which would effectively put $100 back on average into the pockets of the residents of Greenwich. This $100 would be useful for that single mother that does not receive child support and drives to New Haven every day to work in a hospital – and help reduce her gas bill. This $100 would help the teacher living pay check to pay check trying to pay her mortgage with her husband who works at the local butcher shop. This $100 would help the elderly neighbor on a fixed income, who will see his income decrease as the federal income taxes will reduce the mortgage deduction. Most importantly, this $100 would have sent a message to the residents of Greenwich that the BET actually cares about its own people and when there is a surplus they return your hardworking money.
Since the vote was tied, the final vote against the decrease in the mill rate came from the Chairman of the BET, Jill Oberlander (who when running against Mike Bocchino for Representative of the 150th district touted herself as “fiscally responsible”). Her reasoning for not voting for the decrease was that we should change the calculation of the general fund so it doesn’t show so much of a surplus. This is a terrible argument. Either the funds are there or they are not. Other arguments by the democrats against reducing the mill rate were that it might affect the AAA rating. The town accountant said returning the funds would not hurt our rating. Andy Duus, a Republican on the BET, rightly pointed out that the AAA rating is based on our effectiveness to tax, not on our surplus in our general fund. He also rightly pointed out that reducing spending is the way to be prudent financial planning, not building up a savings account to spend it later on. We now see Oberlander’s true colors.
We believe the real reason the Democrats did not vote to decrease the mill rate is because they did not want to make the increase look much higher when they raise your taxes next year (by an estimated 4%). They are also contemplating a consulting report on May 22nd that will recommend spending $775 MM — three-quarters of a billion dollars! — over the next 15 years.
Is there an alternative to deliver top education at a reasonable price? Don’t hold your breath. There is no end in sight to their spending. Please remember their names when you go to the voting booth – if you haven’t moved out of Greenwich by then…