Letter to the editor: Believe Naugatuck can do better

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On Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 I attended a public hearing of the Naugatuck Charter Review Committee to recommend Naugatuck citizens/taxpayers obtain the right to automatic referendum of both municipal and education budgets, a right other towns have.

Perhaps ten people were present.  I spoke as the Citizen’s News reported.  Let me clarify my position.

I don’t oppose taxes.  I could support raising taxes given circumstances.  I am against Naugatuck continuing as is.  I favor restoring Naugatuck to what it once was – an economic powerhouse with good paying jobs for all, and then some.  I loathe the status quo, which produces more of the same incremental change every year.  I support drastic action, vigorously taken to achieve exponential results in the shortest time possible.  I want Naugatuck to be what other towns fear competing against in terms of job creation and retention.

This can’t be accomplished with sustained uncompetitive tax rates, especially on businesses.

I don’t support laying people off to achieve this but rather offering them more money to do more work, more efficiently.  There is an intangible that outweighs all else when an entire community accepts living under high taxes with little or no economic growth year after year after year.

How long has it been now?  We need to get to a point where business is propelling the community at a fast pace and we need to get there in considerably less than a 25-year plan or a one-year plan repeated 25 times.

We allow ourselves to be persuaded we can’t do better than the economy at large – this is not true.  We continue to tread water year in and year out in the hope something miraculous will appear.  There are two questions we need to ask before every decision – (1) Is this going to increase the grand list? And, (2) is this going to give us a sustained competitive advantage?

Two yeses is fast tracked; everything else dulls our focus on our goal.

Since our current tax rate makes us uncompetitive we need to implement a plan to reduce the rate a set amount per year until we achieve a sustained competitive advantage.  At the meeting I suggested a minimum of one-third of a mill per year.  Bond houses will love us, real estate will soar in value, outsiders will pour in bringing innovation, opportunity will multiply.

Today apathy has taken hold, permeating everyone and everything.  When meetings are packed and everyone is up in arms we will know a true leader has arrived enacting changes guaranteed to incite everyone in the short term with long term benefits for all.  Sadly, I don’t see any politician in any party that fits the bill.

Pete Perugini

Naugatuck