To the Editor:

As the New Milford budget vote nears, it is apparent not all taxpayers think a 2.5 percent tax increase is justified.

An overview of our situation can provide useful insight and encouragement that a fair and pragmatic approach can work. All of us should know just how severe this recession has been.

Unfortunately, the effects have been felt unevenly, by some very deeply and others not at all.

What can account for the minimal involvement of those critical of or likely to struggle under this increase? Perhaps it is the lack of a sense of representation, an effective voice or the perception of inevitability.

In the private sector, individuals and households must pursue their livelihoods and money not made is money not spent. Reduced income means business lays off workers and cuts back on expenditures and investments.

In contrast, we read how town officials (the public sector) have a ready rationalization for why reducing spending or employees is counterproductive. A flat or shrinking tax base, combined with the budget expansion, has resulted in the proposed 2.5 percent tax raise. Along with the significant loss of income, many taxpayers are facing a very regressive tax burden.

Over time, this can snowball, undermining the community, tearing at its fabric.

Townspeople of all stripes need to get involved and have their voices heard. All programs should be scrutinized because we can't afford "sacred cows."

With effort, economies and efficiencies can be realized. These days especially, the running of the town has to be a hands-on experience by all who seek to actively do their part.

Reed Hotchkiss