Blogger's Note: Below is an op-ed by Lehigh County Comm'r Brad Osborne. It first appeared in The Lehigh Valley Press on October 3, 2019.
For the second consecutive year, Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong has delivered a budget with a tax increase to the county board of commissioners.
Last year, a 4.1-percent tax increase was proposed, with the administration stating it wasn’t necessary for 2019.
This year, the administration proposed a 5.5-percent tax increase based on its five-year financial forecast, and again an increase in this amount is not necessary to fulfill the county’s responsibility to the community in 2020.
What is going on?
Frankly, this year’s budget is designed to conform to a predetermined outcome ignoring historical data.
Last year, for instance, the county came in $9 million better than projected.
No one is to blame for this variance as it is obviously difficult to project revenue and expenses in advance. Also obvious, we are not quite ready to tax our citizens five years in advance of our knowledge base.
The fact that we started 2019 with a rainy-day fund exceeding government standards by more than 25 percent and came in $9 million better than projected last year should be all the evidence anyone needs to be convinced the county should take this year by year.
Can you imagine what shape our families would be in if we allowed every school district, every municipality, our state and federal government to overtax us like this?
I oppose this overtaxing for the unnecessary burden it would put on our community.
Please call the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners at 610-782-3050 or attend the 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 meeting to let your elected officials know your thoughts.