What jumps to the front was the huge tax increase in Greenwood last year. It wasn’t called a big tax increase and technically it can be argued that it wasn’t. The fact, however, is that I had to take more than one hundred and ten dollars extra out of my pocket and put in the City of Greenwood coffers. If they had called it a whopping, absolutely necessary, painful tax increase, I might not have felt so bitter. For the most part they simply called them utility payments.
Under the smokescreen that the City was subsidizing the garbage and water, sixty and fifty dollars respectively were added to the steadily growing annual utility bill. Since only the tax-payers pay for what the city spends, to say the garbage and water were subsidized rang massively hollow.
What was noticed was that with the complete shift of all garbage and water expenses from general expenses to the utilities, they now escaped the softening effect of the home-owners’ grant. It no longer covered them.
One might have expected, that with the two expense items moving in their entirety from the general taxation side of the ledger to utilities, there would have been a drop in the general taxes. But that didn't happen; they increased as well.
Perhaps what left a feeling of stronger resentment and distaste is that the average citizen received a 22% increase in their water tax while businesses, apartment buildings and the like received only 3%. The false flag raised there was that businesses don’t water their lawns, so their increase is less. “Untrue,” says a former city councilman, “The watering of lawns was factored into the water taxes very long ago. On that reasoning, the increase should have been the same for everyone.”
When asked if it was just a break for the business people and a shift of burden upon the little guy, he responded, “Exactly.”
I agree with him. The people most able to pay got the big break in taxes; the average family already struggling to get by, the pensioners who make up a large segment of Greenwood on very fixed and immovable incomes, the disabled, and the unemployed and welfare recipients fortunate enough to still own their homes picked up the slack.
It is the way of the world; the well-off get more well-off and the poor get poorer. (The well-off never consider themselves well-off; they think it is those elusive other guys who make more than them.)
It isn’t so much that we had to pay a lot more (though that surely does count); it is the way that it was done that left a foul and long-lasting taste.
Even though some people's taxes decreased this year by a few dollars, (and that is sweet), the perception of having being fed less than straight talk last year is not easily erased.