The City of Worcester has a 9 million dollar tax “surplus” on its hands presently. There are longstanding policies in place earmarking 80% of this 9 million dollar surplus for retirees and enhancing or retaining financial reserves. These policies have helped the city attain such favorable bond ratings.

Op-Ed: What to Do with Worcester's $9 Million Surplus 1

Sean Rose/Photo by Matthew Wright

Therefore, that leaves 20%, or 1.8 million dollars of “free cash” to be allocated to a predetermined line item by City Council. Some people may hear “surplus” and assume that the city has new and available funds towards an area of need. They shouldn’t.

I was always under the impression that a surplus is defined as more than what is needed, or excess. The excess in this case is an excess of taxes paid by taxpayers. An overpayment by taxpayers should not be considered a “surplus” or “free cash” in this case.

Simply put, the surplus is an overage in what WE paid in taxes. Taxpayers should be refunded for their overpayments. The current policy around surpluses really needs to be examined more closely by the council. There needs to be more urgency around steering policy towards reducing the residential and commercial tax rates for residents when there is opportunity. This is that opportunity.

When elected, I am eager to not only explore policies that give money back to tax payers, when appropriate, and I am looking forward to working with the city administration in continuing sound fiscal management.

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