To The Daily Sun,
Thank you, Ms. Gamage, for bringing out into the open in your letter of Aug. 1, what had previously been a sneaky whispering campaign. As far as I know, we have never met and have not discussed my position on any issues.
Normally in such a situation, one would look to Belknap County records and newspaper articles and letters for information. Clearly, you did not. There is not one word in any Belknap County record or article about me or letter from me about a "county sales tax."
Not only have I never advocated or even contemplated such a tax, I never heard of a county sales tax until this smear campaign began and a supporter of mine in Meredith told me that a member of the delegation pressed him to remove the lawn sign supporting my candidacy because "Taylor lacks conservative values, he supports a county sales tax." It is my assumption that you are a decent person who did not make this up yourself, but rather who is being used by others to spread the lie.
The absurdity of the smear is underscored by the fact that the Board of Commissioners does not have statutory authority to raise taxes of any kind. We are authorized to prepare a budget and request delegation approval for the monies in question to be collected by the various municipal governments. Moreover, one would have to be stupid to advocate a county sales tax. I can think of no better way to commit political suicide. Finally, why would Belknap County even need such a tax. We had a surplus of $600,000 at the end of 2015, which I believe reflects the efficient manner in which a majority of the Board of Commissioners caused the county to be operated.
That $600,000 surplus brings me to a second point raised in your letter, which also needs clarification. You say that I am trying to take credit for a tax reduction for which I was not responsible. Look at the record, I have not claimed credit for a tax reduction. Instead, I have claimed credit for recommending a level-funded 2016 budget, one that kept the budget at the same level as 2015. Both the 2015 budget and the one I voted to recommend for 2016 had $1.7 million being moved from the general fund for taxpayer relief. I and board Chairman David DeVoy opposed adding an additional $600,000 to the 2016 taxpayer relief number. Our reason was simple and I believe very much consistent with prudent, conservative fiscal policy.
Since 2010, it has been known that the roof to the entire county complex is failing and that it will cost upward of $600,000 to replace the roof. Our position, which was rejected by a majority of the delegation, was that the $600,000 should be retained until the roof issue is resolved. It makes no sense to use that money to produce what resulted in an average saving of approximately $12 in taxes for the entire year on a property valued at $200,000 (close to the average) in Belknap County, when we know that we will have to pay over $600,000 for roof replacement in the very near future. Now we are likely to have to raise taxes or borrow money to cover what could have been taken care of with the additional $600,000.
A third point for which correction is appropriate is your statement that I have claimed I am seeking re-election when I was not elected in the first place. Apparently, you are basing that assertion on the headline on the article which ran in the June 28 Laconia Daily Sun announcing my candidacy. The article was comprised of the press release generated by my campaign. The headline is the work of the newspaper. If one reads the first two sentences of the actual press release, it is clear that I was appointed by a unanimous vote of the delegation and that I am seeking "election" to the position I have held since that appointment.
I welcome discussion and will listen to any honest opinion, even if totally different from my own. What I will not accept, however, is a lie turned into a smear. You are correct, Ms. Gamage, that I am not originally from New Hampshire. It was not New Jersey where I grew up, however. Rather it was among the rolling hills of West Tennessee. Among the values I was taught there was not to lie, and not to spread the lies of others.
Again, I thank you for the opportunity to openly confront the county sales tax falsehood and the other misperceptions contained in your letter.
- Category: Letters
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