Not so fast. Millions of voters went to the polls throughout the country and voted republican this past November 2, mainly because they wanted to send a message to Washington that they weren’t happy with the direction they felt the country was moving in. Before they went to bed that night, every news media was reporting the news that they expected to hear. I can sleep well tonight they thought because things are going to change. But are they?

There are many storms brewing that right now are under the radar. With all the emphasis on national politics, many voters have been in disconnect on local issues that will probably cost them more dearly than paying income taxes and other federal levies. What you may be asking? How can this be?

Voting on a national issue does not necessarily translate to good politics or policies at the local level. In New Jersey, for example, the average person pays about 15% in income taxes. Yet that same person pays equal to or greater than that in property taxes. Most don’t give property taxes a thought until they receive notice that their monthly mortgage payment increased (1/12th) to the bank, and at that, don’t do the math. The ones that generally feel the pain more are those on fixed incomes such as seniors or those of us who pay quarterly taxes directly to the municipality.

No matter where you live, property taxes have been and always will be the number one issue. It determines whether one stays or considers moving. People want value for their dollar. That value is different to each person. But in the end, everyone who pays property taxes will determine their own point of diminishing returns.

Something unfortunately many local politicians don’t understand. To make matters worse, many taxpayers only complain amongst themselves and won’t participate in the political process. Council meetings are sparsely attended, and when there are a number in attendance, after the recognitions or awards are made, everyone leaves and the chamber is practically empty with the exception of the elected officials. Agree that many watch the meetings on TV, but you can’t talk through the TV to get your message across to the governing body.

What may have happened this past November 2nd is that many voters, who were wrapped up in the events in Washington about republicans taking over Congress, just voted down one column. This may or may not be wise depending on one’s knowledge and views of the political process, especially at the local level. Also keep in mind that over the years there have been democrats who sounded more like republicans, and progressive republicans who could easily be confused as modern day democrats. I say modern day because many in the democrat party are not the John F. Kennedy democrats and at the same time many republicans have drifted from Ronald Regan’s vision of government. Times have change and so do our leaders as they try to read the minds of the voters or worse yet feel that it is their duty to practice policies they feel are good for everyone, whether agree or not. It would be wise for all of us going forward not to have our elected officials try and guess what we are thinking but just tell them. Then we will know that they are listening. Otherwise the storms will come and they will have to be dealt with from your income that remains after income taxes.

-Kevin Murphy