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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Money Pit

‘Property tax’ is well-nigh a synonym for ‘education tax.’

by John Derbyshire

Where I live, in New York’s Suffolk County, we are pretty well protected from law-breakers. In the opinion of some county residents, in fact, we are too well protected. Suffolk county cops are the envy of our region. New York City cops call them “the money boys.” An officer with the NYPD has a salary of around $60,000 after five years service; our lads are at $98,000 by that point. They also get more than a hundred paid days off a year even outside their normal schedules, so a Suffolk cop works an average of 181 days a year. He’s off-duty more days than he’s on. He can retire on half pay after 20 years’ service, cashing in unused days off (average payout $134,000). Benefits are extravagant. I tell you, people come from all over to take our police exam. There are lines round the block near County Police HQ at exam time.

I’m therefore not very surprised to find, scrutinizing my current property tax statement, that a big chunk of my tax bill goes to the county police district: $765 this year. Library services ($443), garbage collection ($369), and highways ($264) are some way behind.

My total property tax bill is $6,545, though, so the police tab, over the top as it surely is, amounts to less than 12 percent of the total. Police, libraries, garbage, and highways all together only add up to 28 percent. Obviously there’s a big-ticket item I haven’t mentioned.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.