To the Editor:
It is no surprise that Mayor Scott Jackson is once again proposing a tax hike. The people of Hamden have become numb to the only solution this administration has ever proposed - more taxes and more spending.
I find it interesting that the mayor is attempting to tie a bow on this year’s tax hike by proclaiming it to be “21st century government thinking.” It is not enough that taxes have been hiked every year in recent memory, now the mayor is talking about permanently using this strategy as innovative thinking for the 21st century. Let’s look closer at what this means.
It is apparent that the town is in serious financial trouble when the only positive thing Mayor Jackson can say is that we can avoid bankruptcy. Here is what the New Haven Register reported: “He referred to 11 governmental bankruptcies since 2010 and said Hamden can avoid that fate … bankruptcy or state control carries with it tremendous immediate tax burden for all property owners, and giving up control to someone else is political failure.”
Friends’ positioning the mayor’s proposed budget as the only hope of avoiding bankruptcy is like the mayor saying I have no other solutions to consider, either I tax you to near exhaustion or the state will do it. Since I consider bankruptcy to be political failure, then let me be the one to do it.
Mayor Jackson also said, “it will take time to address the town’s two biggest financial challenges, the small fund balance and the critically underfunded pension plan, which has been underfunded by about $200 million over the decades.”
This statement is a paradox or a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true. The mayor is calling for yet more time to solve a problem that he and past Democratic administrations created over decades. We have run out of time. He simply cannot offer up a solution that will resolve this mess. What is required is a fundamental restructuring of the pension and benefit package that this mayor simply does not have the political will to accomplish.
In the end, he will most likely opt for a bonding package that will heap millions in new debt onto the taxpayer while simultaneously locking the town into a death spiral of ever higher mandatory contributions to an unsustainable pension fund, further increasing the tax burden on Hamden’s residents.
Overall, the mayor’s proposed budget will grow by $11.2M over the previous year. The bulk of the increase will go toward fringe benefits and debt service. Debt service is the interest we pay on money borrowed. Nowhere in the mayor’s proposal have we heard about long term solution to a rapidly deteriorating financial picture.
In the coming weeks and months the Republicans will be contrasting alternatives to the mayor’s tax and spend proposal. On April 5th the Hamden Republican Town Committee is going to begin the work of developing a platform to offer concrete solutions to the status quo. I urge Hamden residents to join the Hamden Republican Party and help bring an end to the one party rule that has hijacked our town.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 203-281-5512 if you would like more information. Consider coming to the Town Committee meetings the first Thursday of every month at the Miller Senior Center at 7:30 p.m. Working together, we can bring about a vision ofhope for Hamden’s future.
Hamden Republican Town Committee Chairman.