Daily Archives: March 25, 2009

If Fair Haven Can Reduce The Tax Rate, Why Not Middletown?

The great budget battle in Middletown continues to rage on.  Already nearly 40% of  FY 2009 budget has been spent by the Township through emergency appropriation. 

How can we allow this to happen? No matter how much budget wrangling goes on, it will be almost impossible to save taxpayers from a municipal tax increase with only 60% of the budget left to play with.
If anyone thought that the leaf pick-up this year was a fiasco, wait until you see what the results will be of the draconian budget cuts that will be needed to close a possible $7 million deficit in the township budget. 
The reason why Middletown is in this type of mess to begin with is because the Township Committee, controlled by Assemblyman want to be Gerry Scharfenberger, Pam Brightbill and Tony “the Fibber” Fiore, unlike Fair Haven, has refused to cut services. Instead, the GOP control Township Committee has raised our tax rate by 17% over the past 3 years to close the budget deficits, all the while blaming Trenton for it.
How did Fair Haven save it’s taxpayers 2% on their tax bill? They consolidated departments, bid out fro professional services and now do engineering work in-house.
Now granted, Middletown is a much larger town than Fair Haven, with more complex issues to deal with, but if Fair Haven can consolidate services to save money, then Middletown should also be able to, there is a lot of fat that could be trimmed before Middletown should consider a tax increase.
One idea being floated by Democrat Sean Brynes is to transfer the Cultural Arts Center from the Parks and Recreation department to the Middletown Library. Many of the programs offered at the Arts Center are duplicated by the library system, so why not ask the library to take over the Arts Center in order to run it more efficiently. In doing so, it could save the township over a quarter million dollars in operating fees alone.
Middletown should look at Fair Haven as an example of how to control costs and limit spending in order to contain the need for tax increases.
Click here to read how Fair Haven was able lower it’s tax rate 2 years in a row. 

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Filed under budget deficit, Cultural Arts Center, Fair Haven NJ, Middletown, tax rate

Cost of uninsured adds $1,100/year to premiums of insured families.

I often get into heated debates with a co-worker of mine over the need for some sort of universal health care coverage for all U.S. citizens.
My co-worker is dead set against it, he argues that health care would be rationed and he would have to wait to see a doctor. He tell of how his cousins from Canada came across the border to seek medical treatment because they had to wait so long to be treated in Canada for what ailed them.  
He buys into the old GOP argument that government bureaucrats would  be deciding what was best for himself and family rather than his doctors.
I show him the irony to his argument by pointing out that instead of government bureaucrats making health care decision for us, we have insurance companies making those decisions for us today.    
When I point out to him that there is close to 100 million people in this country that have no health insurance at all and because of this, we and our employer pay for it through our insurance premiums, he says he does not care, he is only interested in the facts. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to discuss thing with him.
So for my co-worker, here are some facts. I found this information on Think Progress’s  The Wonk Room. The study was done by the Center for American Progress:
When the uninsured cannot pay for the care they receive, health care providers shift costs to Americans with insurance in the form of higher premiums. A new report from The Wonk Room’s Ben Furnas and Peter Harbage concludes that a failure to continuously cover all Americans accounts “for roughly 8 percent of the average health insurance premium“:

This cost-shift amounts to $1,100 per average family premium in 2009 and $410 per average individual premium. By 2013, assuming the cost shift remains the same percentage of premium costs, the cost shift will be approximately $480 for an individual policy and $1,300 for a family policy.

Read the full report>>>Here


Filed under Canada, Health Care, healthcare costs, insurance premiums, The Center for American Progress, The Wonk Room, Think Progress