LETTER: CPA is a Tax That Supports Special Interests of Proponents


Yes the so called Community Preservation Act (CPA) is back. After being rejected by the voters overwhelmingly, CPA supporters are hoping that after eleven years we forgot the deceptions and that new residents would believe their propaganda. NO we have not forgotten lies like tenants won’t pay or the empty promises like 100% matching funds. We didn’t fall for their con-job in 2005, and we shouldn’t in 2016.

This year’s red herring somewhat imaginative, so I’ll give them points for creativity. The claim is Watertown taxpayers have, for many years, contributed all this money to fund the states match. But that’s a huge distortion. The matching funds come from transfer fees paid when homes are sold. Unless one sold their home in the last 15 years, they have paid no tax to support the CPA. Notwithstanding, whether Watertown residents paid one dollar or one million dollars during this period, adopting the CPA is like paying extortion to ransom money taken hostage by “taxation-terrorists.”

What else is new? From the very beginning, red herrings, deceptive marketing and outright lies have been the hallmark of the CPA. In 2000 the legislators looked at excess funds collected by the registry of deeds and saw an opportunity to hoodwink voters into accepting a new tax, fancy name as smokescreen. The CPA doesn’t preserve communities. It preserves and expands the corrupt relationship between special interest groups and their pandering politician friends.

The Beacon Hill tax-a-holics had another choice. They could have distributed these funds like the lottery proceeds, with all excess funds going directly to the cities and towns. Had they done so, Watertown could have received this money for the last 15 years, without creating a new form of taxation. But tax-junkies needed a new fix. The CPA was new way to get it.

Yes “They’re back. “ CPA supporters hoped we forgot all their lies and deceptions. We have not! They hoped we wouldn’t notice it was even on ballot this year. We did! But in all their devious calculating, they made one huge miscalculation. This year residents, particularly parents with school aged children, know that we will need to make a major investment in our schools for our children’s needs. The NEEDS of our children come way before the WANTS of special interest groups. Cities and towns are judged by the quality of its schools. Cities and towns are not judged by CPA special interest group’s wants and are not judged by past and present politicians that get in bed with CPA special interest groups.

It’s time to reject the CPA again. Vote no on Question # 5 on the back of the ballot.


Russ Arico
Fayette Street

5 thoughts on “LETTER: CPA is a Tax That Supports Special Interests of Proponents

  1. So unfortunate that future students may suffer-We have a dividers in the middle of a Cunniff school Classroom as I write this!! CPA Proponents on record saying in no uncertain terms that the Watertown Strong Schools group can kiss support for an override goodbye for simply stating they disagree with the timing of this initiative. How is that not a scare tactic?? All the huffing an puffing from both sides aside, the facts are the facts, and it appears to me the CPA folks don’t have any facts on their side. To deny we have a school problem, or that we can afford both, is just not the case and there is ample evidence to the contrary. CPA proponents plough on, ignoring the Watertown Housing Stock numbers that tell a different story as well as letters to town councilors begging them not to support this. Also, no mention that FY 2017 increases that will amount to a 6-8% for many. They can’t deny that and, what’s worse, they won’t even acknowledge it either. Take a look at these facts. How do we go tell these folks they can afford to pay an extra anything? We have no idea what their household budget is, other then that a disproportionate % of their income is already going to rent/mortgage, and they make too much for an exemption. The dirty little secret to all of this is that renters are under the impression this won’t effect them-boilerplate leases have Escalation Clauses. If they signed a one year lease and this passes, it gets passed right along onto them, legally, the very next month.
    WatertownHousing Production Plan/Funding provided by the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program and the Commonwealth of Massachagement/ Page 23..section D….
     Housing cost burden is a significant issue in Watertown. 45% of owners and 35% of
    renters are cost burdened (spend more than 30% of gross income on housing costs),
    and 16% of owners and 15% of renters are severely cost burdened (spend more than
    50% of gross income on housing costs)
    file:///C:/Users/John/Downloads/Watertown_HPP_January_2014_201402251231408672.pdf John Labadini President Concerned Watertown Homeowners Asscoaiation
    Reply ↓

  2. Another “Spin” by supporters of the CPA is that 160 cities and towns have approved it. Sounds good, right? What they’re not telling you is that we have 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts which means that 191 cities & towns have not approved the CPA TAX.

    Consider the FACT THAT PROPERTY TAXES ARE EXPECTED TO RISE AGAIN THIS YEAR (for the second year in row) by 5-8% without the imposition of yet another 2% for CPA Tax. And no, that is not just a “cup of coffee at Starbucks”!

    That could be TEN PERCENT INCREASE on your property tax bill which is outrageous, at best. Do the math friends, it’s not $10 per month.

    It’s also outrageous that Town Counselors Palumba, Dushku, Woodland, Feltner and Falkoff, (and our other elected State Representatives) WANT TO RAISE YOUR PROPERTY TAX EVEN HIGHER THAN THEY NEED TO BE??? Ironically, it’s not an election year for these Counselors.

    The fact is that the Town of Watertown is a well run community with a 125 Million dollar annual budget plus a recently announced budget shortfall.

    CPA Funds can’t be used to pay off the shortfall. Perhaps our elected officials should figure out how to pay our current expenses before they support raising funds for just three special interest purposes that CPA Funds.

    Vote No on Question 5. It wasn’t right for Watertown in 2005 and it’s not right today!

  3. So sad that the fear mongers can’t be generous and encourage people to support both CPA and schools. Both are worthy causes, among them affordable housing, so people can afford to live here without spending 30-50 percent on rent. The people writing these rants are, I suspect, comfortable enough to pay both school and CPA taxes, so what, I wonder, could be their reason for persistently trying to kill this initiative? I’m baffled.

  4. R Chosiad, these are facts. This isn’t fear mongering. Why are you baffled? This isn’t about the folks (like me) who can afford it. Please don’t miss the point. The folks you mention paying such a high percentage in rent; those %’s amount to at least 5000 homes or apartments! Over 30% of our towns population!! The CPA way, buying homes on the open market (when available), would take , I don’t know, a few thousand years?? You want to go walk into their homes and ask them for 500+ dollars before this antiquated legsislatioon can be repealed? The folks this hurts the most have know one speaking out for them, or the vote yes town councilors looking out for them. We just increased the number of units set aside for affordable housing to 12.5 and 15%. Overnight that created more much needed affordable housing then the CPA would in decades, without taxing strangers, whose budget we know nothing about, other than being housing cost burdened. Hope that helps

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