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Serious questions about Amherst's budget

      Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan has proposed a budget for next year that would keep spending flat and actually cut tax rates by 2 percent.

   Some praise the budget for eliminating 25 vacant positions and clamping down on unnecessary spending. But others say the budget overprojects revenues and underfunds some personnel spending lines.

   In particular, the town comptroller has said it's overly optimistic to expect sales tax revenue to hold steady and for mortgage tax revenue to fall by only 5 percent in light of the nationwide fiscal crisis and its long-term impact on the economy.

   Is Mohan promoting some tough love, as he has stated, by forcing town government to do with less when its residents are also making do with less? Or is he promoting a budget that artificially closes a revenue-spending gap?

  -- Sandra Tan

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