If you read the views on the online comment section of the Daily News, you’ll find a continuous harping against the Community Preservation Act. Which is odd. Not much screaming about the state tax or the income tax rate hikes or the increase in sewer rates or even that much against the sales tax. But the CPA tax.
It is some how the Great Evil.
I have always had the political philosophy that a tax that directly benefits the local community is good. Therefore, I heard a lot of protests when the Mayor proposed fees for our central parking lots but as you can see, it has been very beneficial to be able to profit from our visitors who often have no idea where to ‘sneak’ a free parking place. (That’s for locals to know and guests to find out!)
The CPA not only benefits us as a community but we get varying degrees of other tax money sent to us to match what we raise. This has in just the few years we have had this program, poured $6,000,000 back into our City. Not into the State House and not into the hands of the Feds.
We have seen the Custom House repaired and restored, the Internationally-recognized Old South Church repaired and restored, the Cushing House Museum repaired and restored, and many non-profits such as the Masonic Lodge and the Newburyport Art Association and the St. Pauls’ Chapel and the only Palladium-style building in the city at the Oak Hill Cemetery. Speaking of that, we’ve seen huge improvements in the Old Hill Cemetery, the Highland Cemetery and the Oak Hill Cemetery – and something you never hear of, tombstones restored not vandalized. Our parks from Atkinson Common, Bartlett Mall to Moseley Pines as well as nature trails and rail trails and public places such as Inn Street and our Street Trees. But what of government-held places? Our beloved City Hall, the Kelly School building and the World War Memorial Stadium. And it just keeps going on.
So why do people harp over this one tax? Ulterior motives. You see, the CPA is a designated tax – it goes to specific projects and only to specific projects controlled by a citizens board. No city-employee union, no politician and no well-connected subcontractor can get his hands directly on this tax money. And it drives these people crazy.
It reminds me of Judas Iscariot. He protested when expensive oil (really expensive oil) was poured over Jesus’ head. He said, “That oil could have been sold and given to the poor!” But his real motivation was that he controlled the ‘bag’ and enjoyed access to the money.
Those opposed to this tax will cry about seniors on fixed incomes and the ‘poor’ but I assure you, all they want is control over the money. To them, the CPA is a ‘bad’ tax.
To the rest of us citizens, it’s good money that goes where it benefits us the best and monitored by us, the citizens.
That is the Community Preservation Act!