Opinion: Supervisor candidate wants to lower taxes in Colton
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 9:25 am

To the Editor:

I am writing to ask those residents of Colton who are concerned about ever-increasing property taxes to elect me town supervisor.

Property taxes are a crushing burden for the residents of Colton, especially retirees surviving on meagre social security payments. They live under the Damoclean sword of tax increases while Albany wastes state revenue on gaudy, useless projects.

It is intolerable that the homeowners of Colton must pay exorbitant property taxes for basic services such as road maintenance and spraying against disease-carrying insects while state officials throw their money away on madcap schemes and white elephants.

Moreover, Albany requires homeowners to foot the bill for services that it orders the county to provide, the infamous unfunded mandates. It is true that the mandates are a county concern, but county expenses form 60% of property taxes. So county expenses do indeed concern local taxpayers, for they are the ones who must yearly write the check to pay them, or else watch helplessly as they are expropriated and evicted and their homes are put on the auction block.

There is also the issue of companies like Brookfield Renewable, a subsidy of the $250-billion Canadian holding company Brookfield Asset Management. Local lawmakers are often intimidated by these colossal multinational companies and their formidable lawyers.

The Raquette River does not belong to Brookfield...at least, not yet! If it belongs to anyone, it belongs to the community through which it runs. And if the river is to be dammed up and exploited to produce electricity, residents have a right to a share in the wealth so produced. They should not regard the money in local taxes paid by Brookfield as some sort of largesse on that company's part.

Furthermore, Brookfield has the practice of giving its assets extremely high valuations on its books, so it is quite possible that the company itself values the Colton dams at much more than the current assessed value on which it pays taxes.

It is wrong that the working people and retirees of Colton, many of whose families have been here for generations, should be taxed out of the town they grew up in and so love because of irresponsibility in Albany and sweetheart tax agreements for highly profitable companies. If I am elected town supervisor, I will do all in my power to prevent the social cleansing of Colton.

Kevin Beary