Taxes should not support historic preservation in Egremont

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By Thursday, Nov 23 Letters  3 Comments

To the editor:

In a letter to the editor last week, Susan Bachelder says I worked successfully to derail adoption of the Community Preservation Act in Egremont. If adopted by a town, the CPA adds a surtax to property taxes to create a fund to pay for projects deemed worthy by an appointed board. Susan bemoans the consequences of my ill-advised obstinance, namely that proponents for spending taxpayer money on the school, the church and other pet projects have to convince the voters to go along, rather than just giving the proponents the power to act for us (after all they know what’s best). I plead guilty.

While not a great believer in historic preservation, I’m not opposed to it. I’m opposed to forcing those who don’t believe in it to pay for the nostalgia of those who do. If something is worth saving, it should be saved through voluntary contributions, not involuntary taxation.

Richard Allen

North Egremont

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3 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Susan P. Bachelder says:

    As Mr. Allen mentioned last week, why bother saving the small ugly building that is the village school, a structure owned by the town, when we should be saving the Church, a much larger and imposing structure with a strong presence in south village that clearly needs repairs. Well, Mr. Allen, why don’t we? As you suggested, it should be saved, but being a country that believes in the separation of church and state, there can be no Town funds voted to save this historic structure, only large hearted citizens such as yourself Mr. Allen, so pony up.


    People can decide together as a community to fund things through taxation. That’s not “involuntary” if a community decides to do it. There’s the old free rider problem if you insist on something being done through voluntary donations, as well as class dynamics where people with little disposable wealth have no power in this case even if they’re part of the community. Philanthropy cannot substitute for democracy.

  3. Mary Brazie says:

    The tax payers clearly voted at multiple Town Meetings to raise the funds and support the project. That makes it voluntary taxation, not involuntary taxation.

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