Letter: Reject Katz plan to minimize Tiverton services
To the editor.
Among the Tiverton Budget Committee’s newest members is Justin Katz, a professional blogger for the Ocean State Current. This blog serves as the online journalism and commentary wing of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an organization funded in part by the billionaire Koch brothers.
Along with other super-wealthy conservatives, the Koch brothers have established and funded a nationwide web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations, like the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, that together form the State Policy Network (SPN). The SPN seeks to promote an extreme right-wing political agenda in state capitals and cities and towns across the country, an agenda that aims to privatize education, take away workers' rights, roll back environmental protections, and make changes to the tax system to benefit the super wealthy.
How does this connect to Tiverton?
Recently Tiverton's budgets have been shaped by the conservative ideology of Justin Katz, a Koch brothers surrogate, and his widely publicized beliefs in small government and minimal town services, along with a strong distaste for retirement security and unions ... especially the teachers’ union.
Last year, after two years of Mr. Katz’s drastic austerity budgets, the town voted yet again for a Katz petitioner budget. It reduced the Budget Committee's recommended budget by $957,895 forcing the town to make the onerous decision of where to cut almost $1 million more from an already pared down budget. The result was the conundrum of how to pay for trash pickup.
In November Justin Katz was elected to the Budget Committee. Since then meetings have often turned contentious and acrimonious, with multiple department heads reporting that chronic underfunding has left them unable to run their departments properly. And yet Katz keeps pushing for cuts that may be penny wise but are undeniably pound foolish as he relentlessly pursues his agenda.
Make no mistake, Mr. Katz's agenda for Tiverton is the agenda of the Koch brothers: Get rid of public education, destroy unions, eliminate any safety nets for the most vulnerable in our community, and reduce public safety funding.
Tiverton deserves better than to be the unwitting participants in an ideological experiment funded by the Koch brothers and carried out by Mr. Katz. Tiverton residents can demand better by rejecting any Katz-crafted or Katz-endorced budget at this year's annual May Financial Town Referendum.