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Letter: Senior Tax Prop. 'Hypocrisy'

By Carole Lalor

To the editor:

Wake up fellow seniors and smell the hypocrisy!

The new senior tax abatement “proposal” that Timothy Herbst sent to the Town Council reeks of desperation. After telling residents for months that there isn’t any money in the budget for our schools or other programs, Herbst suddenly comes up with a plan that would cost the town between $340,375 and $575,000.

If this isn’t a transparent attempt to lure senior voters with a wink and a promise, why put forth this slapdash plan now? Why not wait until the details are fully thought through and (as always seems to be the case with Timothy) the town attorneys consulted as to the legality of the plan? At the moment, all we have is an ill-conceived idea that may or may not be legal, and that may or may not be enacted.

I’m sure most residents—I included—would gladly support easing the financial burden on seniors who are truly having trouble making ends meet.  In fact, First Selectman candidate and Town Councilwoman Mary Beth Thornton has co-sponsored some of the strong senior tax relief programs that already benefit our neighbors today. Unfortunately, her most recent proposals to aid seniors were tabled by the town Republicans who did not consider senior tax relief a priority before election season.

One big problem with the current Herbst proposal is that it could end up giving tax breaks to wealthier citizens, while offering no tax relief to those in need. As currently described, the plan would offer a deduction of $5,000 from automobile tax assessments to all seniors, regardless of financial status. So a senior who is well-off financially, and who owns an expensive car, would get a whopping savings of $125 in his or her taxes at the current mill rate. Would I like that? Sure, but not at the expense of our schools, parks and roads. And meanwhile, another senior who cannot even afford a car, and is clearly struggling, would get nothing.

Furthermore, where will the money come from to offset the cost of this program? Should younger and middle-aged residents—including many who are also struggling to get by in the sagging economy—be asked to pay for a program that benefits even financially secure seniors?

Clearly, in his haste to release this plan during election season, Timothy has not thought this through. Either that or he sent this “proposal” to the Town Council in its slipshod state, hoping that our senior would fail to see through his attempt to sway them with empty promises. What clearly bothers me is that Mr. Herbst thinks that seniors can be bought. Not so! Our seniors are either of “the greatest generation” or are their children and we know our responsibilities as citizens.

Mr. Herbst and his Republican-controlled Town Council had two years to enact senior tax abatement. If they really had the interests of our seniors at heart, why did they wait until now, and then put forth a flawed proposal?

Carole A. Lalor

Trumbull

M Shapiro October 14, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Mike, Did you ever consider making a call to the town Tax Assessor, the man Herbst appointed, and asking him if this proposal was even legal? I'm certain he would have said no and that would have ended it. But no, you guys want to misrepresent an illegal tax credit to our seniors. That's just beneath contempt.
Tiredof October 14, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Or they figured out that it is 100% dueable. And Just curious what has MAry Beth thorton done for seniors in Trumbull except double there taxes...
Tiredof October 14, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Illegeal? What are tehy gogin to do arrest him? If it is illegeal Tim sticks it to Malloy....let us run our town god knows how many things the state has done that have been illegeal. Democrats make me laugh....
Thomas Tesoro October 14, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Mary Beth did not double anyone's taxes, that is impossible since she was 1 of 21 legislators and those tax increases were passed with bi-partisan majorities. She has however been a champion of senior tax relief. She and John Rotundo sponsored what was I believe the most recent improvement in our program.. You can look that up to see I am right. By the way, to be fair, those improvements were also passed by a bi-partisan majority. Finally, she did offer another improvement 2 years ago but the Republicans would not even consider it...too bad.
Thomas Tesoro October 14, 2011 at 08:01 PM
No one will be arrested. This is illegal not in the sense of criminal but that it is not permitted by State Law. In law there are two concpts with respect to illegality (and please pardon the spelling), the first malum in se means something that is wrong in and of itself. Most criminal acts, particulaly those of violence fall in this category. The other is malum prohibitum which means the act itself is not bad in and of itself but it is prohibited by law. The tax relief program falls under the malun prohibitum concept because it does not cornorm to the law. So no arrests will be forthcoming but this program will not be forthcoming either. Bet you didn't expect that response :)
Patty Sheehan October 14, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I would imagine that if this had been in the works for a period of time, that we would have had some press releases and published information along the way keeping us and the Seniors apprised of how it was going. I'm also concerned that if the Seniors get a tax abatement, that money is going ot have to be made up somehow. What is the plan for making that money up? Would the taxes on the rest of the town residents who are not seniors be raised?
Kathleen McGannon October 14, 2011 at 11:11 PM
I have searched for minutes from the TC committee that was supposed to study tax relief for seniors but can't seem to find any. Could someone point me in the right direction? Were meetings held? Any agendas to peruse? Any ideas that were discussed prior to this one being proposed? Maybe if I had the title of the committee it might help my search.
Pablo Sevilla October 15, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Patty, maybe we can bond it. I mean I do not know what that means, but I hear many things are getting bonded by our town. Maybe Mr. Tesoro would like to explain what is the meaning of BONDING. Because I just do not understand it. Is bonding a good Idea Mr. Tesoro? and if this credit for seniors was to become a reality will bonding it be an idea? It would keep our taxes from rising will it not?
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 02:08 AM
Bonding is a way a town can control cost for long term projects. For example...capital development projects like roads should be bonded out. Like roads. But one time purchases that have a short life span like computers shoudl not be bonded out. Ironically Under Mary Beth Thorton the Towns debit increased by 92%....so you have to be smart in what your bonding.
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 02:10 AM
actually it enforces it...my post was sarcastic. My point is even if it is illegal what will happen. Tim is doing what is right for Trumbull tel teh state to shove it...that is my point
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Tom what are you talking about....i could give two hoots about the 21 other elected officails, they are not running for FS...Mary beth thorton voted yes and my taxes have doubled ...FACT. No matter how you cut it. What improvements are you refering too?
Joan October 15, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Mary Beth Thornton is already First Selectman? How did debt increase that much "under Mary Beth Thornton" otherwise?
M Shapiro October 15, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Herbst was an elected official in town even longer than Mary Beth yet I don't recall him even once speaking out against ANY tax or budget increase. That's a whole lot of years of silence. And as much as he played a shell game with our money taxes STILL INCREASED in each of his two budget years.
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Because she voted for baldwins increases...did you think that doesn't count?
Cindy Katske October 15, 2011 at 03:08 AM
I have been asking that same question and nobody seems to know anything about any meetings. I did hear from someone that the committee never met, but I haven't confirmed that.
Thomas Tesoro October 15, 2011 at 03:11 AM
Tiredof, I think you are geting a bit testy but, it is OK. My post was tongue in cheek as well but I think you missed my point. State rules in this instance exist for a very good reason, to be sure tax relief goes to the needy not the wealthy. Mr. Herbst proposal was timed for political effect, not to provide real tax relief. No other rational conclusion is possible. The only other possible excuses are that Mr. Herbst and his advisors are incompetent or ignorant. I choose to believe neither of these.
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 03:17 AM
True Sharp....but not nearly as much as under Baldwin and Mary Beth Thortons control...when they were in charge of the budgets our property taxes doubled ....
Joan October 15, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Gee, what I remember is that there was a lot of bipartisan support for those increases. Where are you getting your information from, Tiredof? You seem to be rather ill-informed.
Thomas Tesoro October 15, 2011 at 03:18 AM
Let's correct a coupple of things. Ms. Thornton did not vote for Mr. Baldwin's increases. She supported the modified versions put forth bu the BOF that were in most cases less than that requested by the First Selectman. Second, Ms. Thornton by herself could not raise your taxes. In fact, the increases she voted for were passed by bi-partisan majorities. The results were improved schools, paved roads, senior tax relief, the purchase of available land to preserve the character of Trumbull and to prevent over development and on and on. The success of these initiatives is seen in the recognition by several publications that Trumbull is a great place to live. Bonding, for all intents and purposes is the Town credit card, we buy things today and pay them off over time. The kind of project appropriate for bonding depends on the length of the bond and the type of purchase. Bonding for the restructure of Stonehouse road is appropriate but bonding for road maintenance is not as an example.Bonding for computers usually is not but if the bond is equal to or less than the useful expected life of the bond it is.
Joan October 15, 2011 at 03:20 AM
If our property tax increases under Baldwin were unnecessary, why has Mr. Herbst continued to raise taxes? Why has he not kept them level or decreased them? (And I had NO IDEA that Mary Beth Thornton exercised so much control over taxes when she was just a Town Council member! I better go back and re-read the town charter. Do each of the Town Council members exercise this type of "control", or is it just Thornton?)
Thomas Tesoro October 15, 2011 at 03:22 AM
Tiredof, Your statemnt is incorrect whether you give tow or twenty hoots. Ms. Thornton along with a bi-partisan majority voted for the spending programs you talk about. Alone, a single legislator can do nothing. However, this bi-partisan majority did result in Frenchtown school, the pre school, senior tax relief, the purchase of land, expanded parks, Trumbull Day and so many other things that we enjoy today.
Pablo Sevilla October 15, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Can I ask something very stupid? If you look at Mr. Herbst campaign postcard that came in the mail, he mentions about what a great school system we have, he talks about what a wonderful town we live in etc. OK here is the stupid question Is that because of Tim Herbst or is that because of Baldwin and Mary Beth Thornton? After all Mr. Herbst has only been in office for how many months? and Mr. Baldwin was in office for how many years?
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 03:58 AM
hahaha...Pablo the town is a great town but it was greatly mismanaged...the budgets were a mess and taxes were going up massive amounts...lets not forget Mr. Baldwin wanted to raise taxes 11% his last term...how many people would have been forclosed on in 2010 in Ray had won?
Momof3 October 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM
I'm tired of Tiredof
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM
I appoligize Mom of 3...truth hurts i understand
Tiredof October 15, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Joan it isn;t about power or control but leadership. She voted in favor of the increases....member because she is so wealth she doesn't understand, i mean didn;t she put on Youtube her lavish kitchen and then take it off the internet? She doesn't understand what all those votes to incease taxes have done to regular people.
Pablo Sevilla October 15, 2011 at 02:42 PM
I am tired period. I am done. This is my forth and last post. I am not cut out for the game of politics. I am a teacher. I work with adolescents who now a thing or two about the truth. GOOD LUCK to you all. Rest assure that this is my last post and that I will not waste one more minute away from my children because of politics.
Joan October 15, 2011 at 04:58 PM
From what I have seen, Mary Beth Thornton is a very down-to-earth person who can relate to the needs of everyone in Trumbull--moms, homeowners, seniors, etc. If she can't understand the effects of taxes, then why did she sponsor tax abatement programs for our senior citizens and for those with disabilities? Herbst can't match that record. In fact, his party tabled her most recent proposals. He also can't relate to the needs and concerns of parents. He demonstrated that amply in this year's budget fiasco. Thornton has shown the leadership to actually get tax relief programs passed, whereas Herbst has only made a weak attempt to propose an illegal tax relief program weeks before the election hoping our seniors would be fooled. So, who is the one who understands what taxes do "to regular people?"
Joan October 15, 2011 at 05:00 PM
And yet the tax increase in Baldwin's last term was lower, was it not, than either of Herbst's tax increases? Seems like you need to reacquaint yourself with the facts!
TrumbullProgressive October 18, 2011 at 05:56 AM
The truth does hurt. Must be why Tiredof generally avoids it so much.

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