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Horse Sense: Hey what about the TaxMan?

There’s a lot been said about taxes in Hoboken and some of it remains shrouded in mystery. Hoboken taxpayers have received notices for the first quarter and beyond that should know the rest of the year is not as clear as some have suggested.


Let’s use sound and fury Councilwoman Beth Mason as an example.  (Sorry Councilwoman can you please stop placing that target on your back?)  Clearly, someone is not over the political reality of the election last year because they’re still fighting the battles waged back then.  The Councilwoman is quoted in the Hudson Reporter this week,


“In November, Councilman Bhalla said that I was lying when I accused the administration of hiding a tax increase. He personally guaranteed a tax cut. Voters learned who was telling the truth when higher tax bills arrived after the election.”


Well if you think this statement has merit at face value, you’re in for a bit of a reality check.  Let’s make it clear Da Horsey style – by talking to the source.  Earlier this week MSV contacted the Hoboken tax office and asked for some clarification on the taxes for 2010.  What we learned and we’re going to sound this out in line by line points so some politicians can more easily follow:


a) The increase in the first quarter bill is due to tax appeal judgements against the City.
b) There’s no clarity, or to quote “no idea” on the second quarter yet
c) The second quarter along with the third and fourth will be determined by upcoming budget decisions made by both the mayor and City Council. Fiscal State Monitor Judy Tripodi also has a role as she presented the introduced budget.


So where does that put us?  In a somewhat cloudy unattractive position with the second quarter looking to be about the same and undecided for the third and fourth quarter.  Councilman Michael Lenz indicated he would have more details based on certain outcomes over the next couple of weeks.  That roadmap will probably be clearer at that point.


As for Councilwoman Mason, she accused then Acting Mayor Zimmer of “hiding the budget” along with a 15% tax increase.  For the record MSV would like to say we hold the Councilwoman accountable for her statements now linking back to the election.  And she’s equally wrong then as now.  Worse, she has failed to offer any substantial reductions she said she would in her very own newsletter last month: zero, nada, zip.  Same goes for her now close political ally, the self-proclaimed budget hawk Councilman Mike Russo.  


Mayor Zimmer in an interview last month along with Fiscal State Monitor Judy Tripodi both demonstrated a seriousness in addressing the tax situation in Hoboken.  The mayor ran on a platform of reducing taxes 25% and stated on her election night victory taxes would be reduced year over year.  Although we’re not convinced the target is achievable, MSV is going to hold the mayor to her word and see that she strives for that mark.  Nothing less is acceptable, nor should it be.


At the same time, let’s not allow elected officials in Hoboken believe they can play fast and loose with the truth.  Councilwoman Beth Mason is looking more and more unrecognizable to the person MSV thought we’d be casting a ballot for last spring. We’re sure a lot of folks out there feel the same. 
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