Top 10 Reasons to vote "NO" to the TAX HIKE:
10) A 50% income tax raise in one year is irresponsible when you consider inflation has gone up only 4.7% in the last year. This tax raise is a 50% increase of the Wallace Township local income tax. Currently, 1% of your income is deducted for local taxes. Half of which goes to the school district and half of which goes to Wallace Township. The referendum proposes to raise your Wallace income tax from .5% to .75%.
9) Raising our taxes is one thing, but to take out a 20 year 2.9 million dollar loan is risky. How much is the interest on a 20 year loan at 5% for 2.9 million dollars? $1,693,291.94. So we not only have to pay back the 2.9 million, but actually a total of 4,593,291.94 over 20 years. So from now on let's talk about the 4.5 million dollars we have to pay back for 20 years for less than 50 acres of "open space", because that is the TRUE cost.
8) Most likely residents will not be able to set foot on the property. That means no park, no nature preserve, no trails, nothing… There is a remote possibility of getting some access for trails, but it is unlikely, and it will come with a price tag.
7) The entirety of this money may be given to a local land trust of unelected individuals for them to spend as they please. House Bill 138 is now in the Senate for final approval. If passed it will allow townships to hand the entirety of these "open space" tax funds to a local land trust of unelected individuals to spend on purchasing whatever land and rights they deem best, "not limited to, costs of appraisals, legal services, title searches, document preparation, title insurance, closing fees and survey costs."
6) There are other alternatives to taxes to preserve open space
There are county and state grants that we can apply for that would make available money to buy land in our township. We also have strong land preserving ordinances in effect that matched with a solid Planning Commission can link large tracts and trails together across the township. Lastly, we would strongly support the formation of a citizens group to pool funds together to purchase land in this pursuit of preserving our scenic views.
5) We already pay an "open space" tax that goes up every year
Are you thinking of voting yes, because you want to do your part to preserve “open space”? Well, right now you pay a significant portion of your County property tax (.664 mills - that’s more than half of your Wallace property tax), for parks and “open space” in Chester County. And it is going to go up, as it has every year in the past. So you have paid and will pay more for “open space” via your County property tax. When have we given enough? Right now, we all need a property tax cut, not another tax raise.
4) This is money that would have been spent on our families
Our opponents seem to have “hamburgers” on the brain when they keep comparing this tax to fast food. How about something a little closer to home? Thinking about starting that savings account for your child or grandchild’s college education? Well 18 years from now you could have saved $11,526.16 for this child’s college education; if you saved the money you will be sending to the township for the new “open space” tax ($250 a year at 10% interest).
3) There is no official plan for our tax money
Would you be surprised to know that there is no official township plan for what to do with our tax money? As of now, three residents (the supervisors) can make any property transaction and incur any related legal and professional expense with the 2.9 million dollars they borrow with our tax dollars. While tax payers are paying the interest on the loan, they can indefinitely sit on the money. They can, as other townships have done, spend through much of the money during failed attempts at negotiating with land owners. We think there should be a precise plan, properties selected, and public input before they impose a tax and incur 2.9 million dollars in debt. This is an all out sprint to raise our taxes with no public input into the process and no official plan in place. Someone is pushing hard to get this passed before anything is set in stone and any public input is received.
2) 60% of Wallace Township's remaining "open space" will be preserved without a tax raise. Using the numbers the proponents of this tax have offered, we could afford 114 acres of development rights, of which, 57 acres we would have gotten for free without a tax increase. According to current zoning ordinances half of all developable land must be set aside for "open space". The number typically exceeds 60% when factoring that wetlands, flood plains, steep slopes and historic buffers must be put aside before calculating developable land. This means 1500+ acres of the 2600 acres of undeveloped land in Wallace township will be set aside for "open space" with NO tax raise and NO 20 years of debt.
1) It is not right for us to force this tax on our neighbors.
WOSRTF-PAC (Wallace Open Space Referendum Task Force Political Action Committee ) found fault with our proposal that residents voluntarily pool monies to fund open space. Their problem with this, they say, is people won't consistently donate enough money. But, wouldn't the truest measure of one's dedication to preserving "open space" be how much they willingly spend to do so? Or, is the best way to show your support for "open space", to vote to force all of your neighbors to pay from their own paychecks? If this tax is so popular, why wouldn't a voluntary system work?