Some councilors extol benefits of new property tax; at least one, however, says enough's enough

City Councilors Andrea Campbell (Roxbury) and Michael Flaherty (at large), say that for an average of about $23 per resident a year, Boston would be able to build more housing for people being priced out of the city - and help upgrade city parks and historic sites.

The two are backing Boston approval of the Community Preservation Act, a state law that lets communities add a small surcharge to property-tax bills - with additional matching money coming from the state - for specific purposes, including development of affordable housing, purchases of land for open space and maintenance of existing parks and historic sites.

Campbell said the 1% would be added to a property owner's final tax levy for the year - with exemptions for residents who would qualify for low-income housing and for industrial land owners.

The council agreed today to let them hold a hearing that could lead to a referendum question in this fall's election on the proposal.

But City Councilor Bill Linehan, who represents South Boston, which has been particularly hard hit by tax increases this year, said he's wary of a camel-back-breaking straw, that while he's all in favor of more affordable housing and parks, "clearly on the backs of property owners, to add another 1% on top of that just seems to me we should be cautious because we can't just be going to the same well all the time."

Flaherty estimated the measure, allowed by the state Community Preservation Act, would mean roughly $20 million in new revenue targeted at "community" housing and park and historic uses.

Flaherty emphasized he is no tax-and-spender, and jokingly assured fellow councilors he is not "feelin' the Bern." He said 160 Massachusetts communities, including some of the state's wealthiest, already take advantage of the act and that none has repealed it.

In 2001, Boston voters rejected a similar proposal.

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Comments

$23 is a utility payment for

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$23 is a utility payment for some of us barely getting by and trying to not lose our homes. Stop kicking us working seniors in the teeth to import more pet poor.

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Do it but make exceptions...

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... for people on Social Security/RRB/MassRetirement. Basically anyone with a fixed income by virtue of age or disability.

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the City is receiving 25 to

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the City is receiving 25 to 40% more funding for many, many, many areas of the City (by finally getting their acts together and assessing properties at their actual market rate. This has had a huge impact on property taxes for FY 2016 even the tax rate was lowered slightly).
Why is nobody talking about this increased revenue the City is collecting and how the City plans to use it. and why the F are they trying to ask for MORE and not being called out on it???!!!

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> This has had a huge impact

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> This has had a huge impact on property taxes for FY 2016 even the tax rate was lowered slightly).

No, it doesn't.

Prop 2 1/2 means the total amount of taxes collected on existing properties can only go up 2.5%. End of story. Without an override, there is no huge impact on property taxes raised by the city from the changes in assessments.

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Well ...

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2 1/2 refers to the total amount a city can bring in each year, NOT the amount an individual property owner has to pay.

With a revaluation ( which has to be done at least every three years under the Tregor decision, which came before 2 1/2), you can see huge changes in taxes on some properties, if their value has gone up more than others.

Since we're not planning on moving anytime soon, the fact that our house didn't go up all that much in value in the eyes of the assessors is great - our tax bill is not going up that much, if at all (I should look, since I keep bringing this up). But there are people in South Boston who are getting whacked, because the value of their homes has skyrocketed.

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Yeahbut

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It's true that some residents in Southie are seeing property tax bills increasing by more than 2.5 percent per year. But that means that, by definition, folks in other parts of the City are seeing property tax bills increase by less than 2.5 percent per year.

Because...

By Prop 2 1/2, the total property tax revenue from non-improved properties in the city can grow by no more than 2.5%. Which means the poster up above is correct -- that the assessor is more aggressively determining higher property values does not result in Boston's property tax revenue growing more quickly.

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Almost right

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They figure out the commercial taxes first THEN they calculate the residential. If the commercial taxes go down significantly - which can happen for a number of reasons and almost broke the local real estate engine around 2004 - then every resident's taxes could go up by more than 2.5%.

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What's the split?

How much will go to parks and historic sites and how much will go to affordable housing? What type of affordable housing are we talking about? We don't need another city slush fund.

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"not less than 10 per cent ..

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"not less than 10 per cent ... for open space, not less than 10 per cent ... for historic resources and not less than 10 per cent ... for community housing"

Ok. That basically means 80% goes to the well-connected housing nonprofits, since they're the ones who can coerce the city council.

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Boston is already a city of

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Boston is already a city of the very poor and the very rich. Such proposals will only further economically polarize the city and not accomplish what they intend. I don't like this proposal despite being ideologically very far from a right wing capitalist.

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Wait, didn't Linehan just

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Wait, didn't Linehan just propose a new tax too? THIS one is too much but his is ok?

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Back In the Day

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Maybe, Michael Flaherty and other city councilors should have never voted to get rid of Rent Control. If these councilors cared about anyone but themselves they could have voted for a rental cap instead of getting rid of rent control all together!

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"voted to get rid of Rent Control."

The Rent control bill was passed by a referendum in 1994 or so. It's a state law. There have been attempts over the years as I vaguely recall, but, it's a state law. Any municipality can cap the rent, but they have to make up the difference between their cap and actual market rent for that unit.

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I know how to raise $20 million

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How about a very tiny 1.5% cut in the city payroll which we learned this week is $1,500,000,000 per year?

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Did these people fail econ 101?

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These are subsidies. Subsidies raise prices artificially. One of the reasons we have high housing costs is because of moronic policies like affordable housing!

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And unlike city councilors

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And unlike city councilors most of us cannot vote ourselves a pay raise to pay all these added taxes ,fees, and increases.

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Quick quiz

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What are the income levels in Boston to be eligible for an "affordable" condo or apartment?

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Varies per neighborhood

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Varies per neighborhood zoning and the AMI limits negotiated for each project. It makes every unit in a building more expensive (less affordable) to pay for the minority of units given 'affordable' status.

Or the developer directly pays out to the BRA affordable housing slush fund which no one seems to be able to account for. So in theory every neighborhood is made more expensive to subsidize development in cheaper neighborhoods where more units can be built (Roxbury/Mattapan/Dorchester) but in practice who the Hell knows cuz the BRA ain't opening their books.

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