Bill Scher: Why override’s passage is crucial for city

Published: 2/12/2020 1:19:39 PM

The proposed Northampton override is crucial if we want our city to remain a desirable place to live.

Massachusetts’ Proposition 2½ statute makes periodic voter-approved overrides necessary. Under the law, without overrides, the city can only increase the amount of property tax revenue it collects by 2.5 percent a year. Yet our costs rise faster, at about 3.4 percent. Shortfalls are inevitable. This is a revenue problem foisted upon us that only we, the voters of Northampton, can solve.

And we have. Northampton voters made the fiscally responsible choice in 2009 and 2013 by approving overrides. We have reaped the benefits and avoided budgetary crises. Since the last override, the financial services company Standard & Poor’s has given Northampton its highest municipal bond rating: AAA. That’s proof of our sound fiscal management and commitment to investing in our future.

A “Yes” vote is a continuation of what has worked. A “No” vote sends Northampton off-course on to a path of austerity — likely forcing us to cut services, lay off educators and other city workers, diminish public safety, weaken our infrastructure and degrade our overall quality of life.

Please vote “Yes” on March 3’s override referendum.

Bill Scher


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