Atendendo a algumas respostas apreciativas e inúmeras ignorativas, aqui está......

26 abril 2015

Some posts about the Brookline override

Some posts and notes I wrote about the Brookline override.

There are several erros in the con argument. The major ones that I identified easily are:

 1 - Voting against the whole request just to lower the amount by some 20% does not make sense. It will delay the process unnecessarily, for an unknown amount of time, in exchange for a small and uncertain savings.
2 - Property taxes are progressive. The wealthier own and pay more, and less well-to-do folks live in smaller properties and will have much smaller raises. It is the less affluent who most benefit from quality public education and from reliable public services that make an increase in taxes necessary.
 3 - The article claims that the town can tap more than $2 million in "identified" cost savings and revenue increases but does not identify them, most likely because such savings do not exist. The town's expenses are mostly salaries and there is no way to save without losing personnel. Towns are not retailers, they make money from taxes, not from unspecified "other revenues".
 4 - The benefits of the expenditures are clear to all who experience the quality of Brookline Public Schools as well as the other services that Brookline provides. To claim otherwise without a solid reasoning is almost offensive to Brookline's teachers, as well as other public workers, police and firefighters.

 I sincerely do not think that the argument of the no campaign is logically sustainable.

Let me answer why.
 1 - Our taxes are not high. The residential tax rate in Brookline is ⅔ of the Massachusetts median.
 2 - We should vote for the override because the town needs more money to continue operating school well. This is a benefit to all residents and homeowners, both in terms of quality of life and of maintaining property values.
 3 - Lastly, we should all support public education because it is a public good. The current students are the next generation that will make this country prosper. Spending on our schools is an investment in the future, it is a basic question of patriotism. Have a good vote!

Also, comparing only single-family homes is irrelevant. When people decide to buy a home on Brookline they are trading off more space for the benefit of a more urban location. The choice might come to a 2-family home in Brookline against a 1-family home in a neighboring town. Leaving aside condos makes the data biased.

The proposal for a 9th school was a manner of dealing with increased enrollment. As I understand no suitable place was found. Even if it had been, the town would still need to vote YES on an override to pay for more staff and vote YES on a debt increase to pay for construction.

 I have to say I strongly object to the negative tone which is often used when referring to renters. People rent for many reasons, and renters are not less part of a community just because they decided not to take on a large debt. Renters pay full taxes, in fact rental property does not have a residential exemption, so it is actually taxed at a higher rate. My family rented for many years in Brookline until we decided that we could afford to buy.

Honestly, I found that the proposal for the override was explained to my satisfaction. If we don't pass YES on both questions, the schools will have to operate at a lower budget. Every penny in the budget is accounted for, so there would have to be cuts that will make the school not function as well. The quality of education will suffer. If some people are willing to make our students suffer in order to make a point about their opinion against school administration, then I suppose they should indeed vote against the override. I am voting YES.

 The residential tax rate in Brookline is 10/1000. The Massachusetts median is 15/1000. The statement that tax rates are high here is false, and the rest of the argument is equally nonsense. Let's stop feeding the trolls. The schools need more money to operate properly, and this is it.

One may suspect that many of the override opponents don't have much of an issue with the tax amount - many of them seem quite able to afford our fairly low taxes anyway. Rather, they declare themselves willing to lower the quality of our schools in order to make one point or another. That would be just speculation, except that in the case of the two aforementioned gentleman they have declared what their point is: keep those people out of our schools, even if we have to make the schools worse in order to achieve that. The opponents have spoken; the matter is settled.
 Estimated median house or condo value in 2012: $630,368 (it was $395,300 in 2000)
Brookline: $630,368
MA: $323,800
 Residential exemption: $191,357
 Tax rate: 1.1%
 Median tax: about $5500
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