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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » Addicted To Taxes

Left In Lowell

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May 30, 2012

Addicted To Taxes

by at 4:15 pm.

You may recognize the graph I took the liberty of modifying. I started with a graph from the City Manager’s Budget Proposal. (h/t Gerry Nutter) If you click through, you will see the original graph on Page 17.

I took the liberty of “painting in” lines that show the tenure of the past City Managers: Richard Johnson (1991-1995), Brian Martin (1995-1999), John Cox (1999-2006) & Bernard Lynch (2006-Present). The BLACK verticle lines approximate each change in the Manager’s position. The YELLOW verticle lines approximate 1 year after a change because I am assuming the previous City Manager crafted the budget his successor worked with. The dollar value is the amount the average single family household tax increased in Lowell (the BLUE line) over the tenure of each City Manager.

Note: The annual demarcations occur mid-year, as the budget does. I’m not sure exactly what months any of the City Manager changes occured. Likely, not at mid-year. I think Lynch came in August 2006.


Lastly, the dollar figures are interpolated from the graph. I doubt CM Lynch adjusted 1990’s dollars for inflation. Thus, not to pick on Richard Johnson, we should think that “$500″ is a little heavier in today’s dollars.

Anyways, we are a City with “Taxes on the Brain.” For some it is a fetish. Others, an addiction. For several, it is a hackneyed talking point, plodded out on Local Cable and the Blog of Record to make political hay for the first two groups. For most of us, it is just a pain in the ass that we accept as the necessary cost of having the best City in the Commonwealth.

Update below the

Joe S. said:
And over the entire period there was not much reliable State aid supplementing the tax levy until the last couple of years. So each manager had to deal with a different environment, and had different levels of stabilization account funds left over from his predecessor.


Looks like state aid increased steadily from 1994-2001, then stayed level until 2003.

This graph picks up at 2001. The glut of “Free Cash” dwindled fast. Not sure what happened the 10 years prior to get to that glut, but it took 4 years to piss through.


8 Responses to “Addicted To Taxes”

  1. Prince Charming Says:

    these people with taxes on the brain wouldn’t also be Republicans, would they?

  2. Jack Says:

    Well, the “several” sure seem to be.

    To straddle the partisanship for a moment, I think it is worthy to challenge taxation. But, we have to properly assess value to infrastructure & services; thus determining cost.

    Our local gov’t, for decades, funded their “club” with other people’s (ours) money. Lynch is putting the kibosh on that. Murphy brought in “performace budgetting.” This will help proof the expenditures.

  3. Corey Erickson Says:

    I havent even looked at it yet Jack… but the “taxes are a necessary evil” statement is alittle lazy. Lets not forget theyre handcuffed to ever rising prices of food, gas, oil, parking, education, healthcare, lessening wages and jobs. Why people feel the need to compartmentalize people when they turn to the most local of costs they do have “some” control over is beyond me. I know there are some bitches who will never be happy Prince, but again its just “laziness” in interpreting peoples concerns… to simply catagorize them as republicans.

  4. Christopher Says:

    While I’m sure the CM makes recommendations I’m not sure why it is their tenure that is relevant here. Isn’t it entirely the Council that would raise taxes as I’m pretty sure CM does not have sign/veto authority that a Governor or President would (at least I hope not since he is not elected)?

  5. Prince Charming Says:

    What’s happening with Republicans on the national level is also happening locally. They cannot focus on what is good, only throw bombs like “addicted to taxes” to divert our attention.

  6. Joe S. Says:

    I wouldn’t read too much into this data as it applies to the tenure of the city managers. To begin, Johnson started at a time when the city narrowly avoided State receivership and was forced to establish a reserve fund of $4M (in 1992 $).

    And over the entire period there was not much reliable State aid supplementing the tax levy until the last couple of years. So each manager had to deal with a different environment, and had different levels of stabilization account funds left over from his predecessor.

  7. Jack Says:

    Please pardon my “laziness.” I was speaking in a stunted way fit for blogging and those who regularly read here. I take the prerogative of assuming visitors are familiar with my style.

    For those seeking nuanced and cogent deliberation of these matters, maybe the Blog of Record can offer relief? ;v)

  8. Corey Erickson Says:

    jack i understood your redacted comments in consideration of the larger issue… I’m know you could speak in a very unstunted way on the subject :) It was your captioned Catch phrases and another’s followed comment that carry the same tired & dysfunctional political party attributions. I understand its a wheelhouse for some here in the city, theres a steady stream of it in all forms. I just reasoned that the belief taxes are inevitable are as “status quo” as any LIL has ever railed against.

    Maybe if people weren’t so politically polarized here I the city, its possible (just maybe or not) our City Council wouldn’t be. peace

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