A letter to the editor sent to The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass., on January 23, 2019 on the topic of the proposed library project.
Renters and the library
It is a myth often repeated that renters do not pay property taxes.
In most cases, renters, through their monthly payments, cover taxes and the mortgage on the dwellings they rent. Renters also increase wealth for landowners. I would challenge anyone to look at the rents in Greenfield and consider what all that money could be paying for, if it isn’t also covering property taxes. It is difficult to find an apartment with one or two bedrooms in Greenfield for less than $1,000 per month. A house will be more.
Other strange myths about renters include that they aren’t committed to their communities, they won’t stay here for long, they don’t care about the local landscape, and that there is something fundamentally wrong with them for not getting the money together to buy a home. I have heard all of these opinions expressed in conversation. Take a look at average local wages and calculate how difficult it would be to save enough money for a down payment on a home while paying that rent and maintaining a vehicle. Now add student loans, a child, saving for retirement.
Surely, some homeowners will be having trouble making ends meet, as will many renters.
And through all this, there is tremendous public support for the library project in Greenfield, across these sectors.
A new and adequate library is an essential service. It is the starting point of continuing education for the entire population. The library is the community’s center, where members of the public exercise the First Amendment every day with access to news, information, arts and culture, and meeting spaces. We pay for this collectively through our taxes, local property and state income taxes. It’s a great idea. Let’s build a good library.