It is time to put an end to the Proposition 2 1/2 overrides in Hamilton and Wenham, Massachusetts. When Prop 2 1/2 was enacted in 1980 it had provisions to allow towns to pass overrides, but those overrides were intended for emergency purposes. Overrides were not intended to be used to subsidize school funding on an annual basis as has become the norm in our two towns. If override supporters in Hamilton and Wenham believe that "emergencies" have existed in our towns for 10 out of the past 11 years, then the answer lies with a broken system that obviously has not and can not be fixed by simply throwing more money at it.
Here's a little something that unfortunately many of our citizens do not realize: Each override is not one-time cost event. Each override is added to the basis of our tax cost and continues in effect year, after year after year. So we will be paying for last year's $1.8 mil override amount again this year and again in 2010 and 2011 and so on. We have been paying the $660k override passed in 1999 each year for 9 years now! That override alone has cost the taxpayers over $7 million.
And here's a FACT about ALL the overrides we have had to pay since 1998: The individual override amounts add up to $7,707,000. But hang on to your seats (and your wallets!) because compounded over the years, with the 2 1/2 % standard annual increase, and the real cost of those overrides has been whooping $39,518,000! Let me repeat that: $39,518,000!
If our national economy's meltdown has taught us anything, it's that we can not, and should not support a system that does not work. $39 million has not fixed the so-called "emergencies" in Hamilton and Wenham and another override certainly will not either. And did you know that we are the ONLY two towns in the Commonwealth with this kind of outrageous history of overrides? Just last year, out of 356 towns and cities in MA, only 102 sought override attempts...and two-thirds of those were rejected.
Residents must stop the override addiction in our two towns this year... By just saying NO! $39 million is enough! Help make a difference in 2009. Start on the local level.