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Specifics needed from all town candidates

January 25, 2012

During the coming weeks and months, the candidates for Selectmen will begin to emerge, and we will also have a better idea of who will be running for Town Meeting Representative in the various precincts.

I would like to see some specific proposals from each of our candidates for town office this year. In particular, I would like each candidate for office to outline specific cuts they would make to the town budget, or otherwise have the courage to specifically call for higher taxes. Each of the candidates for town office should take a solid position on both sides of the fiscal debate.

Questions to ask the candidates:

– The town is in a fiscal crisis. Do you believe more revenue is needed or spending cuts are needed?

– If more revenue is needed, what specific taxes or fees would you raise and by how much to generate what amount of revenue?

– If spending cuts are needed, what specifically would you propose cutting, and by how much?

Looking back on it, I am disappointed with the lack of specifics from all three candidates for Selectman last year. Two claimed to be conservatives, yet neither had specific examples of cuts they would make to the budget (although I did end up supporting one of the two eventually.) One of those two had an inconsistent record when it comes to being a conservative, and kept changing his positions depending on which audience he was talking to. The third, who eventually won (Mark Gallivan) used vague statements throughout the campaign, never got into specifics, and now less than a year into his term in his office hasn’t taken a stand on much of anything unfortunately.

The town budget is a public record, and our town officials claim to have the doors open when it comes to the budget process. That’s why it should be no problem for every candidate for town office, whether it be School Committee, Selectman, or Town Meeting Representative, to access the budget and offer specific cuts or alternatively have the courage to say that looking at the budget they think higher taxes are the best option.

I am tired of the vagueness from our candidates for town office. The current leadership in town bores me tremendously with their lack of new ideas. Going into this campaign season, I’m going to be demanding specifics from the candidates.

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