The Boston Globe reports today that Newton Mayor Setti Warren is proposing an $11.4 million tax increase for the city of Newton. Warren says the money is needed to build a new fire station, fix streets and sidewalks, and hire more teachers and police officers. Voters in Newton will be faced with a choice between increasing their property taxes to pay for basic services or absorbing dramatic cuts to education, infrastructure and public safety.
Why is Newton in this position? Because over the past five years, Newton has lost 38% of its annual local aid. This local aid cut is a direct result of decreases in state revenue caused by unaffordable cuts to the income tax that began in 2001. For the good folks of Newton, cutting the income tax has directly resulted in proposals to increase property taxes to provide basic services. Unfortunately, Newton is hardly alone. Almost every community in the state has experienced similar local aid cuts, and many communities have been forced to propose numerous Prop 2 ½ overrides as a result.
This is just one of the ways in which the income tax cuts of the past decade have turned out to be not such a great deal.