Jon McCabe: Column ignores lack of business development

Published: 03-02-2023 9:13 PM

Until I read Jeff Lee’s column last week (“Amherst and Hadley — close in distance, but in property tax burden, not so much,” Gazette, Feb. 6), I thought the ultimate example of chutzpah was the youth on trial for murdering his parents who then threw himself at the mercy of the court as an orphan. But now Lee and others in Amherst have taken chutzpah to a new and rarefied level. They have the gall to bemoan our high property tax rates here in town even though they caused the problem in the first place through years of blocking reasonable business development. Without sufficient commercial tax revenue, Amherst is stuck with high property taxes even as we struggle to fund basic services like modern schools and libraries.

Blithely ignoring this obvious fact, the writer goes on to draw an absurdly specious tax comparison between Amherst and our neighboring town of Hadley. As we all know, Hadley’s much lower property tax rate is made possible by the broad commercial tax base it has promoted along Route 9 in recent years. Few, if any of us in Amherst, would like to see Hadley’s level of business growth in our own downtown district; but you can’t have it both ways, unless, of course, you are part of the misinformation bubble. We obviously need a more balanced town economy with a more sensibly vibrant business sector. But to hear Lee gripe about our property tax problem is the equivalent of Trump suddenly complaining there is too much lying going on in our national politics. Give me a break.

Jon McCabe

Amherst

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