Your Viewpoint: Don’t ignore economic impact of new charter

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The problems that Anne Pringle recounted (“Another Viewpoint: What’s going on with the Portland Charter Commission?” March 16) about the Portland Charter Commission’s apparent difficulty in posting meeting agendas and related information timely (and sometimes not at all), and providing legally required information raise questions about the commissioners’ overall responsiveness to the public. 

Recently I wrote to the commission requesting that their final proposals be accompanied by statements of their costs, projected savings, and sources of funding. I noted that the city’s resources are finite, and that voters should be able to evaluate the revised City Charter not only for the ideas it presents, but by how they would affect Portland’s budget. 

Only one commissioner responded. We had a decent back and forth, although it didn’t end with the answer I’d hoped for. Noteworthy, however, is that no other commissioner replied to me. 

Real estate taxes are Portland’s main revenue source, paid by owners and renters. When taxes go up rents go up, and tenants who are already squeezed simply leave. Tax increases push older homeowners out too, and we lose our community’s historical memory. We become an even less diverse city by class, race, age, occupation, gender, orientation, and affiliations of all kinds. Voters must know the economic impact of the revised charter’s provisions.

Ellen D. Murphy

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