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Letter: Newton Officials Should 'Live Within Their Means'

A letter from the co-chairmen of Moving Newton Forward, a local group opposed to Mayor Setti Warren's $11.4 million override proposal.

Spirited citizens, calling themselves Moving Newton Forward, want to preserve an essential element of our City’s most common good---your household income. What are you saving for? A car? A honeymoon? Tuition? Retirement?

Mayor Setti Warren is betting that you will sacrifice more of your personal savings to fund his government’s growth by saying yes to his three override proposals in March. Moving Newton Forward urges you to vote no on each on March 12. Instead, let’s respectfully ask our Mayor and Alderman to do what households do---choose expenses wisely. Live within their means.

Vote no on each override proposal because:

  • Newton has plenty of money, according to audited financial reports. For example, city revenue increased 40 percent from 2003 to 2012, while Newton population declined 7 percent from 1960 to 2010.
  • Mayor Warren has not cut spending. It increased under his watch by $24 million.
  • Increased school spending is even more dramatic. While their enrollment rose 8 percent cumulatively over the past nine years, Newton schools enjoyed 61 percent budget growth.
  • Police, Fire, and Public Works also spent more. From 2004 to 2012, annual net expenses of Police rose 45.5 percent, Fire rose 43 percent, and Street-and-Sidewalk rose 38 percent.
  • Our state and federal taxes also rise. Sluggish growth is projected for our economy; some of us are unemployed. Yet a few Aldermen have already publicly stated how the March override will be “a good start” of ever more.

We can contain our local spending. Join us at the first citywide meeting of Moving Newton Forward on Wednesday night, February 6, at the American Legion Post 440 at 295 California Street at 7 p.m.

We would love to see you there!

--Joshua Norman and Suzanne Szescila
Co-chairmen, Moving Newton Forward

Adam Maleson January 31, 2013 at 04:28 PM
I LOVED how the mayor began his remarks on sunday's "Town Meeting" in Nonantum by saying how they had explored the possibility of slashing the school lunch programs to pay for this $12 million. They did not hesitate to consider taking food out of the mouths of Newton's children, but did they ever for a moment consider taking a salary cut themselves? Here is how a TRUE mayor would handle this current situation, He would look at the highest paid salaries on Newton's payroll. Starting from the highest on down in descending order, add them up until the total amounted to $24 million. Then effect an immediate 50% cut in all these salaries. Problem solved, no override, The End. Here's how I believe the override should be handled. FIRST of all, ONLY Newton property owners should be allowed to vote on an override. THEY are the ones whose taxes will be increased. Residents who do not own property in Newton should have no say in raising property taxes. SECOND, everyone who votes for the override should get their wish: THEIR taxes should go up. Everyone who votes AGAINST the override should get what THEY want: their taxes should not be raised against their will. THAT is the only true and honest FAIR solution to the situation. If those people supporting the override are only willing to pay higher taxes if they can FORCE everyone else to pay more too, whether they want to or not, how is that not outright financial assault and theft against their neighbors?
Concerned Citizen February 03, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Not yet sure how to vote and many questions As resident who owns property, and a business owner who pays rent, I see that I might be hit twice, my taxes will go up and my rent will go, therefore I will have less discretionary spending to spend at businesses in Newton. I am concerned that Newton has lost two businesses because other communities have given them a tax break, and Newton is looking to raise taxes on Newton business owners with this override. Furthermore, I am concerned about owners of affordable housing units and elderly, who tend to be on fixed incomes, and may not be able to absorb the increase. In addition, I read in a recent article that the City of Newton has received a higher school reimbursement this year, than in past years, because the states revenues are up and given the direction of the economy, I would expect this to continue. I also believe Newton roads are much better maintained than most communities (just look at Needham or Brookline roads after a snow storm compared to Newton). Last, the single family home market has turned around, therefore assessments will be up and taxes will be up. I have not looked at whether the schools need the work or if enrollment is up etc., just selfishly how I will be affected financially. I would welcome a forum with the pro and con folks present so we really can hear both sides of the subject, and I can make up my mind by being truly informed.

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