At its inception, the primary goal of Fix46 was to “educate Woodstock taxpayers on the impact of Prop 46 on funding of town infrastructure and education needs” (www.Fix46.com). That education began with the Fix46 core group. The overriding principle that governed Fix46’s actions was to “do no harm”. We did not want to present potential alternative Prop 46 language that would result in increased fiscal restraint when it comes to the funding of our towns needs. Nor did we want to advocate for a change for the sake of change. In the 9 weeks since I began Fix46, we have gathered, studied, and analyzed as much information regarding the 33 year history of Prop 46 as we could.
We have critically discussed:
1) Prop 46 and the town’s application of it,
2) The various legal opinions that the town has paid for,
3) The town financials (budgets, Grand Lists, mil rates, etc)
4) Legislation from other states that apply budgetary spending or taxation limits
5) Calculations applying the historical effect of multiple alternatives to Prop 46 on town spending/taxation.
We also had many conversations with elected town officials, functional groups and individuals.
A clear message that Fix46 gleaned through our work is that many Woodstock residents have a distinct lack of trust in our elected officials with regard to spending our tax dollars responsibly and that Prop 46 is seen as acting as an ever present “cop” to keep watch on that spending.
Through our education and lengthy discussions, Fix46 has come to the consensus that we should not take any amendments to Prop 46 to referendum in 2012. Though Fix46 will delay any immediate effort to alter the language of Prop 46, we will continue to actively advocate for appropriate funding of town needs and, above all, continue to educate ourselves and Woodstock residents on the needs and fiscal realities of our town. Through this process it became obvious that there was much to learn and even more to understand. Our goal is to continue the research and education as we work collectively, with a broad spectrum of citizens, to consider an amendment to Prop 46 which will meet the town’s future needs.
Our decision to redirect our effort was well considered. It is with some measure of satisfaction that we recognize that we came to this decision by unemotionally, purposefully and transparently collecting and critically analyzing the data.
The individuals involved in Fix46 aren’t going anywhere and will, with the assistance of many others, continue to work in the best interests of Woodstock. We will continue to share our research and ask for your input as we educate each other over the coming months.
We welcome any thoughts, ideas or opinions on Prop 46 and its effect on Woodstock. If you have a specific item you would like to discuss with the core group, please let us know.
Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Keep moving forward,
Paid for by Fix46, Michele L. Woz, Treasurer