I respectfully and strongly disagree with your position in your Sept. 15 editorial, “A part-time problem?” Not only do you wish to withhold a vote on local matters from nonresident property owners, but you condone a disparate tax structure penalizing those whose legal residence is elsewhere.

Property ownership by part-time residents is an extremely important aspect of the Cape Cod economic foundation, and penalizing such owners is absolutely insane. This appears to be more of the current attitude of “tax and more tax,” and in this case, the tax targets have no voice.

You state that providing a local vote to such owners is the very opposite of democratic. To the contrary, our system of government is based upon “we the people” - that is, all the people, not just full-time residents. Our republic is based upon sovereignty, not in government, but in the governed. Thomas Jefferson stated in 1789, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” He didn’t say “but only those who are here year-round.” All property owners are equal stakeholders, and should have equal say in local government, with the majority vote prevailing.

There are numerous benefits provided by property owners here part time, not the least being tax payments to the school districts and townships with minimal demands. Think of the tax burden on the property owners in the Nauset or Monomoy school districts if all the seasonal houses were occupied year-round with families having schoolchildren. It doesn’t matter whether the property is owned by a retired couple living in Florida for the winter months or a vacant cottage utilized by vacationers in July and August; the property owners should have a vote in all local matters, as they are economic stakeholders.

Also, I suggest what is undemocratic is having a higher tax rate imposed on such seasonal property owners. You point out that Truro now offers a 20 percent tax exemption for year-round property owners, shifting the burden more to the part-time residents. Apparently, the commonwealth of Massachusetts allows towns to set such a disparate tax exemption up to 35 percent. Truly, I wonder if this legislation has been challenged. All property owners should be taxed on the same basis; all property owners should be encouraged to vote on school and town matters; and all property owners should have a voice at town meetings. The town voting rolls already distinguish “legal residents” from those property owners registered elsewhere. This is the basis of the excise tax on personal property now charged nonresidents.

What is it you fear? Are these owners going to vote against their own economic interests, that being a healthy community? Keeping a town “affordable” is not determined by the tax rate on real estate; it’s built around local government encouraging investment that generates jobs.

Part-time property owners are a cornerstone of Cape Cod commerce. The huge swell in the summer population is possible only through the abundance in rental houses. You mention that 40 percent of the Cape’s housing is considered seasonal. The retail businesses, from restaurants to batting cages, are based upon this seasonal trade. The abundance of golf courses, theaters, musical shows, art galleries, etc., is all based upon available seasonal living space. Do you wish to target the goose providing you the golden egg?

Your editorial position is very narrow, and you are playing to the choir, not the congregation. Restricting voting on local issues to year-round owner/residents is not more democratic, as you state. It is illogical. It makes no sense for full-time resident property owners to pay less tax than part-time owners.

Get with it! We have allowed minority groups the right to vote for years. Seasonal property owners matter!

John F. Schoenfelder lives in Harwich and Vero Beach, Florida.