Or Will We???
Another tax year, and yet another promise by Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate "The Merciless" Murray, to "freeze" Town property taxes.
Take a look at Kate's press release, republished below, and those of tax years past, all alluding to a "freeze" of Town property taxes. Then, if you dare, pull out your property tax statements for this year, last year and the year before that, and tell us, were your Town property taxes "frozen?"
We suppose, like any big lie, this one, told long enough and spread far enough, through media ranging from the fabled "Murraygram" to the ever-regurgitated Town press release, will eventually be accepted as the truth.
The bottom line, of course, on that property tax bill, tells a much different story. The numbers, translating into dollars out of the pockets of homeowners and business owners, do not lie. The net increases in the tax levies convey a reality that stands in stark contrast to the hyperbole of Kate Murray's land of make-believe. Then again, a lie will make it half way around the world -- and all the way around Hempstead Town - before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.
To accept the notion that the Town of Hempstead "freezes" anything, but for the vision of suburbia, long-frozen in a 1950s myopic mindset of a Levitt home surrounded by that white picket fence, is to be delusional - or a GOP Committeeman on the Town's payroll.
One wonders whether residents will eventually wake up to the truth behind tax "freeze" and "holding the line," calling out the Supervisor, and holding our elected officials accountable. The day when beleaguered taxpayers will finally say, "Enough, already!"
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From the Town of Hempstead Ministry of Misinformation:
Murray To Present Tax Freeze Budget - Hempstead Town Boasts Highest Credit Ratings, Rock Solid Finances
"Budgeting during an economic crisis is not easy," cautioned Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray as she announced that she is crafting a budget that will freeze all town taxes for 2012. "I am working with my colleagues on the town board, and will present a tax-freeze budget that is accountable to taxpayers later this year. We will be able to do this because we have adhered to the simple yet profound Boy Scout credo, 'Be Prepared.'"
The Supervisor pointed out that controlling the town's discretionary costs, as well as preparing a multi-year fiscal plan and adjusting budgeted amounts such as mortgage recording revenues for the current economic downturn have resulted in rock solid budgets that have earned the highest available Wall Street credit ratings (Aaa, Moody's Investor Service; AAA, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services). Furthermore, Murray's administration has rejected reliance on "one-shot" (non-recurring) revenues to balance budgets and scrupulously avoided increased borrowing to meet ongoing government costs. These measures have protected the township's residents from the fiscal instability that plagues the federal government, New York State and many localities.
"Unfortunately, many other governments did not prepare and plan for the recession, leaving taxpayers to deal with painful cuts in government services and exposing future generations to the fallout of staggering budget deficits," stated Hempstead Town Senior Councilman Anthony J. Santino. "Kate Murray and I will not take taxpayers down that path. Because we have prepared for a difficult economy and budgeted carefully, we can offer a tax-freeze budget and maintain all services in force."
Perhaps the best indicator of the integrity and reliability of a particular government's budgeting practices lies in the reviews of independent financial analysts and the credit ratings of Wall Street rating agencies. In fact, the independent Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has conferred its Excellence in Financial Reporting Award upon Hempstead Town every year since 2003. And, Moody's Investor Services, the respected Wall Street rating agency, has based its top rating of Hempstead's finances on "the town's prudent fiscal management characterized by conservative budgeting practices, development of multi-year financial forecasts..."
"Our straightforward approach to budgeting has earned the respect of credit rating agencies on Wall Street and won the trust of neighbors on Main Street," said Murray. "We'll continue to justify that trust with a budget that is responsible and holds the line on all town taxes."
The officials pointed out that a key benefit of aggressive fiscal management is that it allows the town to maintain important programs and initiatives that stimulate the economy and create jobs while encouraging development that expands the town's tax base. One such job-creating town service is HempsteadWorks, the town's one-stop career center. Almost 15,000 clients found employment in 2009 through this fee-free service center. Hempstead Town is also supporting the creation of local construction, engineering and associated jobs in the private sector through a $50 million capital improvement program. The program funds road and building construction, marine bulkhead work and other job-boosting projects. Finally, Hempstead's well-managed budgets and stable tax base have attracted three major development projects for the coming year that will create jobs and generate local economic activity.
"During tough economic times it's important that we do everything possible to help neighbors make ends meet," concluded Murray. "We're freezing all town taxes and at the same time crafting a local stimulus program, offering career services to job seekers, and encouraging responsible development that will pump needed private sector dollars into our local economy. In short, we've heeded the Boy Scout credo, "Be Prepared,' and taxpayers in our township are benefiting from our fiscally responsible budgeting practices."