Memo to town supervisors and other officials moaning that the state property tax cap is making life too difficult:
That was the point of the tax cap, to force you to make tough budget choices and to live within your residents' means. We're sorry if you're finding it hard. But the last time we looked, wages are still stagnant on Long Island, which means your taxpayers are still struggling and can't afford to fork over ever-increasing parts of their paychecks.CartoonDavies' latest cartoon: Transition of powerCommentSubmit your letterReader essaysGet published in Newsday
Huntington says it can't build a downtown parking garage? Babylon says it can't afford to build a new animal shelter in one year? Those issues have been around for years. Blaming the tax cap for a lack of progress on them is disingenuous.
And let's be honest. It's not as if towns can't raise more revenue. Overriding the tax cap is easy. It takes a 60 percent vote on a town board -- a simple majority of three votes on a five-person panel. It's five votes on a seven-person board, many of which are mostly one-party. But that would require officials to explain to voters why they think that's necessary. That's called having the courage of your convictions.
And a special note to Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter: Refusing to say how much the average taxpayer's bill will rise until after your proposed budget is adopted is unacceptable. It makes a mockery of the public budget hearing that will be held and is the opposite of being transparent.
Budgeting is sensitive and difficult. We get it. But taxpayers deserve respect and consideration. The tax cap has given them a modicum of both. Officials should stop complaining, and live with it.