Prepare for the Election

The March 8 election is almost here. For a say over how high your taxes will rise and how that money will be spent, vote on the people making the decisions, and on the warrant articles making up that bill.

We’d love to see the high turnout of the recent Presidential Primary repeated March 8, because we’d love it if the people who gripe all year as they struggle to pay their tax bill finally decide to make their views known.

Sadly, some of our local elections attracted no candidates or only one this year. Guess that means people are delighted with how things are going in their town and school district. We know there’s been disgruntlement, to say the least, in the Hampstead School District, yet the incumbent is running unopposed. It’s hard to comprehend why complaints are levied throughout the year but come election time, no one is willing to mount a challenge.

In Derry, on the other hand, a controversial series of primarily public safety budget cuts last year by the Town Council – overturned in a special election – has brought in a wide field of candidates for three open Council seats. Voters: you get to choose.

If you don’t understand what you’re being asked to approve, you still have time to get the answer. The right to vote carries with it the responsibility of understanding the issues. We think tax requests should be handled the way we handle our checkbooks – can we afford it? Is it a want or a need? Is it something we can postpone, or will that cost more later?

How about a union contract? If it covers one year, its costs should be clear. But most are for multiple years. Find out the price for each year – you won’t be asked to vote on it in future years, but the cost goes into your tax bill. And if it’s a bond, learn how much interest is added to the bottom line.

We let ourselves and our neighbors down when we ignore the election, only to find ourselves taxed out of our homes and represented by people who embarrass or upset us. The mirror is a great place to look for an answer to why taxes are so high.

In a state with just about the best opportunity for residents to self-govern, we see turnouts at local elections hovering around 10 percent. Please, no excuses this year. For your own good and the good of the community, go to the polls March 8.

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