News of a 43-cent Trenton tax increase left city residents groaning today.
They feel the pain of old wounds left by city tax hikes of similar size.
It is likely that each tax increase suffered by Trentonian property owners has led to increasing numbers of foreclosures and property sales. Each one of these events further damages the tax base and its ability to support services.
It’s like giving a patient treatment that cures current health issues but weakens defenses and leads to more fundamental disease later.
Frankly, it’s surprising how many property owners have stood fast and not put up that For Sale sign.
Such fortitude is a testament to the connection to home felt by so many people, even when that home sits in the City of Trenton. It puts the latest tax increase in an even poorer light.
Many Trentonians have been willing to hold on and put up with tax hikes, out of faith that the worst is over and that the city’s financial house may finally be in equilibrium.
Their goodwill is irreparably harmed by the city government.
Current leadership has failed to put together a strategic plan for putting the city in a position to minimize the need for more hefty tax increases. When city residents with valuable knowledge on budgeting offer assistance, the response has been lukewarm, at best….another confidence-killer.
The true damage is to those who have the resolve to hold on.
In their support lies the key to the future of cities like Trenton.
But dashing that support to pieces with irresponsible fiscal policy is the best way to drive them right out of town.