Newburyport, Override Opinions

In my hunt for what Barbara Anderson was referring when she was talking about “fighting for reforms that would save money,” I learned a lot.

I discovered 2 really good blogs. One is a Democratic blog, and one is a Republican blog, Two really good blogs from two completely different points of view. I highly recommend them.

One of these blogs directed me towards the The Patriot Ledger where I found this quote about Barbara Anderson (who I gather is a Republican).

“Barbara Anderson, president of Citizens for Limited Taxation, the group that led the campaign to adopt Proposition 2 ½ in 1980, predicts that voter support for overrides will continue to erode as long as municipal employee benefits continue to exceed those in the private sector.

“People are starting to connect these tax requests with the general inability of elected officials to deal with these issues,” she said. “The people they’re asking for the overrides are the ones themselves trying to afford health insurance.”

The Patriot Ledger, April 7, 2007, “More towns face grim possibility of tax overrides,” By Rick Collins

The same article also says:

“Lean increases in state aid, empty rainy-day accounts and continuing double-digit increases in personnel costs mean many communities can no longer afford to provide services at current levels.

“Scores of communities are reaching a point where they simply don’t have the revenue, no matter how much they squeeze, to support the existing level of services,” said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Many predict communities will continue to experience money problems unless they make drastic cuts in payrolls, benefits and services, or they hike taxes.

The issue, some say, is not just the number of town employees – most communities have fewer now than they did before 2004 – but rather employee benefits such as pensions, guaranteed pay hikes and relatively low-cost health care.

Health care costs for municipalities increase an average of about 10 percent annually and consume larger amounts of a community’s budget.”

The Patriot Ledger, April 7, 2007, “More towns face grim possibility of tax overrides,” By Rick Collins

Michael J. Widmer I gather is also a Republican (I’m a Liberal Democrat) and it appears he is not much liked by does not appear to like Barbara Anderson much either.

So, I’m on a huge learning curve here. Anderson and Widmer are new names to moi. And even though I am a Democrat, I am very interested in their point of view.

Mary Eaton