2020 Budget Highlights

Clinton Taxes Outstrip Clinton Household Incomes
Between 2010 and 2017, Clinton property taxes increased 15% while Household Incomes increased just 3%.  Taxes increased 5 times faster than household income.  Even after serial budget defeats over the last 9 years, by 2019 they are up 30% and if the proposed 2020 budget passes on the first referendum vote taxes will have increased 35% since 2010.



Tax increases have been driven by increased operating budgets, declines in in State aid, increased borrowing and non-discretionary debt service.  

State Education Cost Sharing grants are shifting more of the burden of education spending to highly regressive local property taxes.  See report on proposed State aid to Clinton and other towns here.
  Since 2010 Clinton Public Schools enrollment has decreased 337 students or 17% through 2020.  In that time the operating budget (not including debt service or capital expenses) has increased $3,8 million or 13%.  The Board of Education projects enrollment declines to accelerate this trend or a loss of an additional 338 students or 20%.  At an annual compound increase of just 1%, the Education operating budget will reach $36 million by 2029.


Consequence of Regressive Taxation

What are regressive taxes and why are they bad?  Unlike progressive taxes that fall disproportionately on those who can most easily afford to pay them, regressive taxes fall disproportionately on those least able to afford to absorb never-ending increases. 

Increasing property taxes is indifferent to their inhuman consequences.
2020 Proposed Budget April 10, 2019

This proposed budget strips out $1,271,200 that had been included in the original capital budget and offsetting appropriated surplus to minimize the appearance of increased spending.



Using a Town Meeting to Subvert the Referendum Process

This budget is intellectually dishonest.  The Board of Finance initially included in it $1,271,200 in capital spending, promising to give voters the opportunity to vote on this at referendum.  But instead they now intend to take it to a Town Meeting where 40 or fewer voters are expected to approve it.  These are not emergency expenses that require a Town Meeting to raid the undesignated "rainy day" fund.  This is a blatant attempt to override the budget referendum process unnecessarily.  It is undemocratic and an insult to voters.
Promise Made

Below is the original promise to give voters the right to vote on this spending at referendum. 
Promise Broken

Below is the Board of Finance reneging on that promise and removing $1,271,200 from the budget for a referendum vote and sending it to a public meeting...only because they know it would be defeated if left on the referendum.
2020 Proposed Budget April 10, 2019
With $1,271,200 Merged In



Had the $556,200 to repair pipes at Eliot been properly budgeted and the appropriations for the revaluation ($240,000), the DPW dump truck ($200,000) and various DPW projects ($275,000) been included honestly in the budget instead of sneaking it through a Town Meeting, it would look like this:



Appropriation and Bonding Resolution

On the referendum will be a resolution to appropriate $10.7 million and to bond it as additional debt, which becomes a non-discretionary amount to be added to future annual budgets.  This resolution does not give voters the opportunity to selectively say "yes" to some and "no" to others as has been done previously.  So voters have to accept or reject all of these expenditures.


Clinton's Out of Control Debt Service


Clinton's debt service is already over 9% of annual expenditures, up from 3.8% in 2013.   As of June 30, 2018, Clinton owed $56,900,000 in principal and another $15,689,469 in future interest.  Adding $10.7 million or 18.8% to that principal and similarly to interest over the next 20 years will cripple taxpayers, especially as State aid continues to crumble.

Below is the Board of Finance passing this irresponsible resolution.
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