Taxes LTE - Feb 2020

Brentwood Newsletter LTE about Taxes for the Feb 2020 issue:

If you have asked why taxes are so high, now is the time of year is a great time to attend a few meetings to find out. Most of your taxes go to schools, so attending the Coop budget deliberative session scheduled for February 6th is the first place to go. To really understand the wants/needs of the town, attending the municipal budget presentation on February 10th is going to give a lot of information so you can have time to dig in and prepare for Town Meeting on March 14th. New Hampshire keeps the decision for how much to tax and spend closer to the taxpayers than any state, so being informed about what is being asked for and why will prepare you to make your position known at town meeting. Going to these meetings will allow you to ask questions and get into the nitty gritty of the explanations. It also allows you to really digest the information after the meeting and give you time to think about each and every proposal before voting day as just learning about the issues on Town Meeting day might not be enough time to look critically into the proposals.

However, one big thing to remember if you do propose changes is that you are voting on a “bottom line budget.” Which means, for example, without School Board Members and Selectmen committed to cutting from the line you intended to cut, the funds could just be moved from another line to fully fund that line which was cut. The same goes the other way, if they decide they don’t want to spend more, they can just spend it elsewhere or return it to the taxpayers at the end of the year.

You are entrusting thousands of your dollars each year to be managed and spent wisely by your School Board and Selectmen. Do you ask these candidates more or less questions than you would if you were hiring them to manage your business? I suspect we can all ask a few more questions and February 6th and 10th is a good time to start.

Josh Yokela

State Representative (Brentwood, Danville, and Fremont)