To the Editor:
Like a sudden, late-spring bloom, hundreds of brand new anti-override signs have popped up this week along Shrewsbury curbsides. Declaring “Vote No! First in a series of permanent overrides!” these signs mis-represent what is ahead of us.
The signs imply that a successful “Yes” vote on June 3 will inevitably trigger a slew of follow-on permanent overrides. This is simply not true. A majority “Yes” vote will result in one permanent increase in the property tax rate. (Even among fervent “Yes” supporters, there is no hidden agenda that this is to be round 1 of a multi-tiered campaign to increase property taxes in a “stair-step” fashion). A majority “Yes” vote on June 3 will not, by itself, cause more overrides to be placed on future ballots.
That said, will some override proposals be placed before Shrewsbury voters in future?? Undoubtedly! Regardless of the June 3 outcome, we can logically expect that every few years a “critical mass” of concerned citizens will successfully land a Prop 2 ? override question on the ballot for some purpose or other. On those occasions, the case for a property tax increase will be made and we will all get to vote. Each specific override proposal will succeed or fail on its own merits, not be automatically enacted simply because a 2014 proposal was passed. Look at recent history. There is a spotty mix of override proposals being both passed and defeated. That spotty pattern will very likely continue.
Let us all vote either “Yes” or “No” on June 3 based on our assessment of the Town's current and future needs.