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March 23, 2019  |  

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Counting Those Checks

Published Feb. 06, 2019

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On average 1,500 Clintonites vote “Yes” the first round of budget votes. I commend and respect their votes. I believe a vote “Yes” is a solemn pledge to fund and support such a vote. Over the last decade, my sometimes vote of “No” saved more than $4 million. This amounts to $2,666 for each “I always vote ‘Yes’” voter.

I propose “Yes” voters lead by example and put their money where their vote is by writing a check and returning their savings to the tax collector. Readers may be laughing or cursing right now. If this seems silly and unpalatable to them, might I suggest reasons to send the check: Do it for the kids, do it for the town program they absolutely must have, or just do it so Clinton doesn’t fall into hellfire. These are the same reasons “Yes” voters pitch to me each year, so surely they have no resistance to this proposal. Realistically, few have the principles to send this check. And so to my point: If “Yes” voters are not willing to put their money where their vote is, then they should refrain from bullying my vote come budget time.

I am an informed skeptic. Working in government for 30-plus years has shown me increased funding rarely fixes issues with efficiency. Smaller budgets demand better performance of all in the organization. Think of where you work. If more money fixes problems, then why is Connecticut considering tolls and grocery taxes after $2 billion in raised taxes a few years ago?

I commend recent Board of Education budgetary efforts and town discussions to increase the commercial tax base. Certainly, a pledge of “always vote ‘Yes’” monies will be eagerly accepted. Here’s looking forward to counting those checks—for the kids.

Thomas Riccio
Clinton

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