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Letter to the Editor: SP Council Should Have Tabled Budget Vote

'The right decision would have been to...spend a little bit more time considering some options,' Democratic Chairman says.

To the Editor:
 
I couldn’t attend the May 18th Scotch Plains Township Council meeting where the Republican majority passed the tax increase due to a previous business commitment. Thanks to technology we can relive these moments on our computers.

I agree with the comments of the Tea Party where they said that the town’s budget should be non-partisan. After the November election, when Mr. Glover was re-elected and Mr. Marcus was elected, I told them that I, as the Democratic Chairman, expected them to make the decisions based on what they felt was the right thing to do, not necessarily the politically correct thing to do. They were elected, not me.

It is interesting that in the recent budget drama played out live on May 18th, Republican Chairman Bill McClintock and former Republican Mayor Martin Marks got up and attempted to preemptively shut down any meaningful discussion of a local property tax freeze during the public comments prior to the budget discussion. 

The truth of the matter is that there were at least half a dozen opportunities to reduce the taxes worthy of a discussion. Councilman Vastine said that this was the first time he had heard about them, suggesting some sort of political trickery. Certainly that is not true. He heard about them during the conference meeting prior to the televised meeting. I understand that the three Republicans chose not to listen to Mr. Glover or Mr. Marcus. Why? Obviously, because they are in the majority and a majority can do that.

So what was the right decision that night? In my opinion, the right decision would have been to table the vote and spend a little bit more time considering some options. If in the end, the decision was to ignore the opportunities, then so be it. At least they could have said that they tried.

Obviously, by the mere presence of Mr. McClintock and Mr. Marks, the political fix was in and the vote was going to be passed regardless of the protests of the Tea Party or our two Democratic Councilmen.

Folks, we need to get the Mayor to understand that she needs to at very least listen and consider the opinions of the minority. Please call her at 908-322-6700 and tell her so. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Louis Beckerman
Scotch Plains Democratic Chairman

Oldenhay agroinmay June 01, 2011 at 07:36 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and I'm troubled. From my prior comments, people should know I'm not a fan of the republican majority in S.P. But in this case, as much as I want to find fault in what there budget is, I think if there were more cuts, it would hurt the town. I do agree that having mr. mctincock and former mayor "$4m isn't too much for the taj marks" speak is cheesy and something that amuses me instead of swaying my opinion. But I don't think that this budget is that bad. I would also caution the democrats to be careful about aligning themselves with the local tea drinkers. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but when you talk about young families with babies to feed and old people with no income, it sounds a little disingenuous coming from people living in the biggest houses in town or people collecting those fine government pensions that some complain about. Many tea drinkers drive those mercedes and then say we should find more money to cut from government.
Taxpayer Smith June 01, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Mr. Smith - Very Tired Taxpayer I am certainly not a political expert but to my knowledge isnt it true that Mr. Glover, a democrat, is taking a 25K/year health insurance plan? Isn't it also true that that 25k equates to roughly 5% of the total needed to be cut to have a zero tax increase in the municiple budget? With that said I would think the solution is simple: The eleceted Mr Glover give up his cushy 25k/year insurance plan which would inturn lossen the budget by approx 5% - problem solved!
Shaggy June 01, 2011 at 08:24 PM
@Holden - mr. mctincock. Very funny
Machiavelli June 01, 2011 at 08:51 PM
If I am not mistaken, Mr. Glover is the only council member who accepts health insurance paid by the township.
Tired June 02, 2011 at 05:23 AM
Scotch Plains residents as a life long Republican ask yourself......What kind of a conservative government official finds they've over charges taxpers on sewer tax and instead of returning the money, YOUR money, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, they decides they know best how to repay you and the businesses in the town. What happens to your STOLEN monies if you move out of town? I guess your just SOL then huh Mayor? Hell the Revolution was fought for less. Why do we have a public hearing on the budget minutes before they vote on what is already a done deal? What would be the reason to have us speak out if not for them to hear public opinion maybe to assist in their decisson? Do they hear the opinions of their constituents? I think the video tape (TV 34) shows, not. Here's a question.....simplistic i'm sure to those great minds in the local government.....Why do we automatically, have to have, year in and year out, our taxes INCREASED? How about we get in the budget with a scaple and disect and REDUCE spending EVERY year? Novel idea huh? Oh I'm sure thats just silly right? Mr Marks can tell us all how doomsday looms once we don't have a tax increse right Marty? What the hell do we get for this increase in taxes? Well I'll tell you, nearly nothing compared to other like towns. Mayor maybe it's time a vacation, permanent vacation that is. The two council members that agreed with this budget should also be ashamed of themselves.

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