Brookline needs to stop increasing property taxes, needs fiscally responsible representatives

To the Editor:

I take exception to Mr. Rater’s recent comments about former Selectman Jack Flanagan, who, along with two other selectmen, wisely declined a federal Housing and Urban Development grant last year.

An informed majority on the Board of Selectman reviewed the proposal and concluded it was not in the best interest of the town for several reasons. The grant came with many strings attached. The fact is that Brookline never needed to become entangled in the terms and conditions of a federal grant to change zoning. Zoning within the community can be changed at any time, pursuant to state statutes.

At a time when our nation is running a debt of $17 trillion, it is refreshing to see political leadership taking the long view about the debt burden we are leaving our children and not just looking toward the next election. Unlike Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Harry Reid and Jeanne Shaheen, I appreciate Jack Flanagan and others on the board actually reading the fine print in that grant before signing up. This is how the process is supposed to work – not the Democrats’ approach of “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Mr. Rater, if you are concerned about the well-being of Brookline, may I direct your efforts toward reducing the oppressive property tax burden growing here over these last 10 to 15 years? This year, my property taxes have gone up $840, which is an increase of 8.8 percent from last year. The Consumer Price Index during this time is up only 1.2 percent. Very few families are getting 9 percent annual increases in their income. Tax increases at rates seven times higher than CPI are irresponsible and unsustainable.

As a resident for 19 years, I can confirm that property taxes here have more than tripled since I moved to Brookline. We are being taxed into the Stone Age because we have a spending problem! I have yet to find a prominent Democrat attending our annual school district or Town Meetings ever see a spending and tax increase they did not like. They have consistently opposed any spending controls over operating budgets that would deliver any measure of property tax relief for the people of Brookline.

Jack, keep up the good work. I look forward to an opportunity in 2014 to elect more like you who govern responsibly, both locally and in Washington, D.C.