A letter in last Tuesday’s paper complained about a potential tax increase for Brunswick’s schools, stating that taxpayers are struggling and should not have to spend scarce tax dollars on the immigrants we expect in the fall (“Letter to the editor: Brunswick pushing taxpayers to the limit,” March 21). As a fellow taxpayer in Brunswick, I feel compelled to respond.

First, a tax increase is needed just to keep up with inflation.

Second, the draft budgets reflect only a minor amount spent on the new arrivals. Most of the budget will go to bread-and-butter items like building maintenance and busing.

Third, the new arrivals are unlikely to be a drag on the local economy. Economists have studied the issue in depth and concluded that immigration at worst is neutral for a local economy, and often improves it. Even if our new neighbors don’t immediately buy houses, they will still be contributing to the economy in myriad ways, and might fill some open jobs. Setting aside our ethical responsibilities to families fleeing for their lives, settling immigrants makes hard-nosed business sense.

Finally, maintaining excellent public schools is itself beneficial for the economy, in addition to all the other ways schools boost a community. Strong local schools attract people to the area, bolstering the tax base and help retain young talent in the local workforce after graduation.

I know I am far from the only Brunswick resident eager to meet our new neighbors and help them get settled. Nobody enjoys paying taxes, but we all benefit from well-spent tax dollars.

Amanda Fulmer

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