, Newburyport, MA

January 8, 2014

CPA is just another tax for Newbury

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Newbury, beware!

The Community Preservation Coalition is coming to town Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. You as a taxpayer want to be at this meeting. If Newbury adopts the Community Preservation Act (CPA), the town will be allowed to “impose a tax surcharge on property owners of up to 3 percent of your total tax bill” every year. CPA gives communities the power to raise local revenue outside the constraints of Proposition 2 1/2.

Once adopted, the CPA cannot be repealed for five years. At any time voters can change the surcharge. If repealed after five years, the surcharge remains in effect until all contractual obligations incurred under the law have been fulfilled.

The informational spin is:

1) This money will preserve open space and historic resources (too late for Plum Island, the town sold all our open space).

2) It will make it easier to recreate and live more affordably in Newbury? Raising my taxes makes it more difficult to live in this town.

3) You will be told the matching monies from the state is free. Nothing is free! Being taxed an additional 3 percent does not make monies from the state free.

Do the math, get your tax bill. 2014: tax bill $4,000 times 3 percent equals $120. New tax bill, $4,120. 2015: tax bill $4,120 times 3 percent equals $123.60. New tax bill, $4,243.60. Do this five more years and see what you come up with.

Then there are the hidden fees: $20 for recording, registering, filing or depositing deeds and $10 for municipal lien certificates. These revenues are disbursed to communities that have adopted the CPA every Oct. 15. Revenue is based on local revenues collected as of June 30 of the previous fiscal year.

This is just a way to get around Proposition 2 1/2 and we still would have override votes. Why would any community give this kind of money-grabbing power to its officials? Tell the coalition, elected officials, Planning Board and especially the Finance Committee — no!

It is my understanding you cannot do double taxation. A tax surcharge on your tax bill is exactly that. When I purchase lip balm to sell in my store, I have a Sales and Use Tax Registration form exempting me from paying tax on it due to being taxed at the register, resulting in a single tax on the product.

If you cannot make it to the meeting, make your voice heard. Do not listen to their spin. Make sure we always are able to vote on any tax increase.

Daniel F. Mahoney

Plum Island