Of all debts, men are least willing to pay their taxes; what a satire this is on government.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have decided to write this brief blog post in response to the numerous questions and comments I have received about the city tax lien list--this goes for those who wrote to me the last time the tax lien list was published in the newspaper. In answer to those questions:
1) No, my name does not appear on the tax lien list; 2) Yes, I pay my taxes on time (however, it is possible that some people on the list paid quarterly taxes a bit late--some of the sums listed--in the $2,000 range--look like a quarterly amount); 3) Yes, I pay my PMUA bill on time; 5) Yes, I agree that part of my ethical and fiduciary responsibility as an elected official is to pay my fair share--and to pay it on time, since I am held responsible for a budget that levies taxes on the residents I was elected to represent; 5) Yes, I agree that taxes are extremely high; 6) Yes, I am deeply, painfully aware that many residents are hurting--many of my friends are among this number--here and outside of Plainfield (see my note below).
I receive a small salary for the work I do as a member of the governing body--$166 per week after taxes, paid biweekly, for a total of $9,000--obviously, I use some of this to help with my taxes. By my calculation (when I add up the hours), this is a little over $7.00 an hour for the time I put into council work (agenda and public meetings; liaison and council committee meetings--I serve on a number of committees; constituent services in-person, email, and via telephone; block association meetings; research for constituents, and so forth.
I do not take the benefits offered (I pay for benefits through my job), since I view this work as part-time, which results in significant savings to the city--several hundred dollars per month. I hope this clears it up.
Note: Regarding #6, I would again note that the reform ordinances we just passed are designed to help with taxpayer relief by ensuring that the competitive bidding process is adhered to, and that we don't pay more for services through inflated, padded, pay-to-play contracts.