Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Do taxpayers deserve clean sidewalks? Friday, January 17, 2003
Rob Haneisen Metrowest Daily News
I know Framingham homeowners already feel like they are overtaxed.  They are rip roaring mad having seen their latest tax bills that confirm what should have been plain:  homes cost a lot and are worth a lot in Framingham.

There is a price tag that comes with living in Framingham.  You want the best (or at least the chance to play second fiddle to the likes of Sudbury, Wayland and Weston) you got to pay up.

Old-timers, people on fixed incomes and young families don't like Framingham's price tag but they like the perks.  With home values shooting up 50 percent in the past three years and with the average home value in Framingham right at $300,000 I have one word of advice:   If you can't afford a Cadillac drive a Geo.

Yes, that's right.  I'm telling all the people who have called Framingham home for their entire lives that it might be time for them to pack up and leave.

Before people start calling me heartless understand that I feel for those who are fiscally forced to move from their community.  But at the same time, Framingham prides itself on great schools, great services, and as a business center.  There's a cost to all that, namely high tax bills.

People may want to blame the override and the school supporters who helped push it through by a slim margin but the override is not the real source of taxing issues in Framingham.  The override cost the average homeowner about $300 a year. Having home values shoot up at such a rapid rate is the real culprit in taxing vexation.

Some might say there are too many administrators and too many school teachers and too many schools to teach too many spoiled children.  Perhaps there are too many snow plows and too many trash men and too many cops to catch too many criminals.  But without those characteristics, Framingham would not be Framingham.

In talking to homeowners door to door over the past couple of years I always find people who moved to Framingham 10-15 years ago from Newton, Brookline, and other Boston suburbs that became too pricey.  Framingham then was the cheap alternative with good schools and tree-lined neighborhoods.  What's the cheap alternative now?  Worcester? You reap what you sow and that's what Framingham homeowners are getting.  Boosting the value of your community makes you feel good until you get your tax bill.  Then suddenly there are cries of waste and mismanagement from the local level on up to the state.  Some of that may be true;  the rest may be as simple as Town Manager George King's explanation that we are paying for the costs of a hot economy with the revenue of a soft economy.

So now there is talk that homeowners may have to start shoveling their own sidewalks to help the town make ends meet.  Can you imagine the nerve of those knuckleheads in the Memorial Building asking the residents to actually do something for the town they love so much?

People talk about making it through the Great Depression, rations during World War II and waiting in line for gas during the fuel crisis of the 1970s.  But the mere thought of raising a shovel to scoop away what Old Man Winter has thrown down from the sky seems to incite the rage of many.

Give me a break.  I know the elderly should not be expected to shovel sidewalks.  That's a job for neighbors or maybe the kid who knocks on doors and offers to do the job for a couple bucks.  Everybody else shouldn't be so self-important as to stoop for a shovel.

(Rob Haneisen is the editor of the Framingham Tab.  He can be reached at 508-626-3882 or rhaneis@cnc.com.)

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