SOUTH PLAINFIELD - In 2009 when Democrats controlled the council, taxes shot up $404. After promising “no tax increase” during her campaign in 2008, then-Councilwoman Christine Buteas voted for that increase. She also voted against the 2010 tax cut. This week, Buteas is being called upon to explain these votes.
“She voted to raise taxes $404 in 2009, yet voted against the 2010 tax cut,” said Mayor Matt Anesh. “It’s fair to ask why. Most people would have done the opposite.”
Councilman Alex Barletta, who is seeking re-election, described the vote against the 2010 tax cut as troubling. “The stats show that we were one of the few towns in the state to cut taxes in 2010. Who votes against a tax cut?”
Barletta’s running mate is Councilman Derryck White. White said it’s not just Buteas who has a bad record on taxes. Democrat council candidate Jeff Seider was on the Board of Education for two terms, and during that time taxes skyrocketed, up $431.
“Seider supported raising taxes $431, but he actually wanted to raise them even more, White explained. “Fortunately, the public would not let him.”
“It seems like Buteas and Seider are having a race to see who can raise taxes more,” said Barletta. “Imagine if they have the chance to do it again, but together”
Anesh also questioned why Buteas voted to give herself a raise shortly after getting elected. Under Anesh’s administration, the council has had a pay freeze. “She was complaining that spending was too high, but one of the first things she did was vote to spend more on herself.”
Under Anesh’s leadership, taxes are flat this year, and just two weeks ago the financial community called South Plainfield’s finances “very strong” and “stable.”
The mayor also points to a recent study that rated South Plainfield the fourth-best town for home ownership in New Jersey, with affordability being the key factor.
White summed up his team’s position this way: “Under Mayor Anesh’s leadership, we’re holding down taxes and making sure our town heads in the right direction. Other towns aren’t seeing these results. If elected, we want to continue this progress. It’s about getting the job done for South Plainfield.”