Featured Letter: Why should I be taxed for preservation?

To the Editor:

My wife Claire and I have just purchased a home on Shelter Island. We’ll be contributing to the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) later this month. 

We could have used those funds to improve our septic system or roof or college tuition — the list is endless. We believe in paying our own way when we choose to purchase something. 

Mandated taxes are not the way to fund land preservation. It should be funded by voluntary state income tax-reducing donations. If I can get a tax credit for an electric car, I better get one for preserving an acre of oak trees. Local fundraising, go-fund me pages are options. Taxation is the lazy way out. 

I don’t see any push-back on this tax or any thought about when it will be eliminated. Now there’s a push for an affordable housing tax on real estate transactions. All of these issues can be addressed without taxation.

I think if the seller had to pay the tax it would never have received support, even once, let alone twice. CPF is a tax most citizens are exempt from and will never contribute to. The $1.8 billion in tax could have been wisely and efficiently spent by the folks who worked so hard for it. Has the fund been audited and is that audit available online?

Chris Stehling, Dutchess, County N.Y.