By Ian Oberg
Mason Times staff writer
The elimination of personal property taxes as proposed in Senate Bill 34 has received negative reviews from city officials as well as residents.
In his email to the Senate Finance Committee, City Administrator Marty Colburn asked that it vote no on this bill because of the negative financial effects it will have on the City of Mason as a whole. Colburn agrees that the personal property tax is “administratively burdensome to businesses and government alike.”
However, Colburn’s concern is that without a replacement form of revenue, Mason will lose $500,000 in property tax revenue for 2011. This is more than 16 percent of the city’s property tax revenues and more than 10 percent of the city’s general fund.
“Supposedly, the help being given to businesses under the new budget proposal will boost the economy, making up for the revenue lost. But who knows how long it will be before the loss is made up for?”
The loss of revenue to the city could affect municipal services, such as police, fire, and snow removal.
Mason resident Cliff McNamara said that he would rather pay personal property taxes than have municipal services reduced.
“We need the police and firemen,” said McNamara. “How is a town supposed to get along with less services?”
Resident Lisa Dillingham also disagrees with the elimination of the personal property tax.
“If the city can’t afford to provide municipal services, then those services will eventually become privatized,” said Dillingham. “If those services are privatized, people will have to pay for them themselves, so there goes the money you saved from not having to pay personal property taxes. It seems kind of pointless.”