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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Portsmouth City Hall Pushes Another Tax Increase



"I shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes."

~Mark Twain

The voters of the city of Portsmouth passed a 0.6 percent income tax increase in 2011.

Now, in 2014, from City Hall comes word that Portsmouth City Manger Derek Allen has done "everything in his power to increase revenue and decrease unnecessary expenses" except "eliminate five or six positions that would be tied to the income tax and the general fund" and/or eliminate another "six that have to do with other departments.

Therefore, the City Fathers have drafted a resolution stating Allen's efforts have been insufficient to bring city finances in order, so the city is asking for an income tax increase of 0.5 percent. The Daily Times reports the resolution states the city’s general fund is expected to be in deficit for the foreseeable future without either significant cuts to services and numbers of employees or additional revenues.

Allen said. “We have done all we can, there is (are) no more areas to reduce except for laying people off or making employees pay more for their benefits.” Estimates say there are nearly 300 City employees and officials.

The resolution states, “on average since 2009 yearly budget loses due to actions by the state legislature include $775,000 in Local Government  funds, $430,000 in Estate Taxes and $200,000 per year Personal Property Taxes for a total of $1,405,000 in total losses per year to the city budget.”

(Wayne Allen. "Resolution passes to ask for tax increase."
Portsmouth Daily Times. December 26, 2014)



Questions

I think people need answers to some questions before considering 
another increase in city income tax.

1. If a 0.6 percent income tax increase in 2011 has not stopped losses to the tune of $1,405,000 per year to the city budget -- 2012, 2013, 2014, and a projected 2015 -- then why is another increase of 0.5 percent going to have any lasting effect?

2. Exactly who would be laid off if the income tax increase does not pass and how much salary would that save?

3. Exactly how much do city employees now pay for their benefits and how much more would they need to pay to significantly decrease city expenses?

4. What benefits do city employees now reap?

5. What specifically does the City Manager mean when he states "additional revenues that could be generated"?

Citizens have already suffered many increases in their water and sewer bills during the last decade. According to the Times, here are recent Portsmouth water and sewer rate increases:
  • 2004 - Water 5.7% - Sewer 5.9%

  • 2005 - Water 5.6% - Sewer no increase

  • 2006 - Water 9.1% - Sewer no increase

  • 2007 - Water 3.4% - Sewer 3.5%

  • 2008 - Water 3.5% - Sewer 3.5%

  • 2009 - Water no increase - Sewer 3.0%

  • 2010 - Water 8.0% - Sewer 9.0%

  • 2012 - Water no increase - Sewer 9.0%

  • 2013 - Water 3.0% - Sewer 3.0%
 (Frank Lewis. "Portsmouth water and sewer rates increase."  
Portsmouth Daily Times. July 24, 2013)



Taxman

By the Beatles (Written by George Harrison)

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman
Yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman
Yeah, I'm the taxman

(If you drive a car)
I'll tax the street
(If you try to sit)
I'll tax your seat
(If you get too cold)
I'll tax the heat
(If you take a walk)
I'll tax your feet



YouTube Video: Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB6DssUMx-k

 
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