Mohegan Sun bets on Suffolk Downs

The Globe reports the Connecticut casino is joining up with the racetrack as the proposed operator of the proposed only-in-Revere resort casino.



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Anyone have a map of the new Revere-only proposal?

How are they going to shoehorn this casino into the Revere part of the property? Right now, that land contains mostly horse barns, plus part of the track oval. There's very little empty (parking lot) land in Revere.

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Calling it now

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Casino gets built, Revere is annexed by Boston via a state ordered receivership conspiracy scheme.

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Casino goes to Everett

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They'll get over that land thingy and put it where the residents voted for it. I can't imagine the casino commission would want an epic battle over this deal right out of the gate if they try to put it at the race track. The commission should punt at Suffolk Downs.

Boston will get the grief and little or no relief.

Welcome Mayor Maahty.

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Cost of residential exemption

Stevil, do you have any data on how much the residential exemption costs the city every year?

I know this is off-topic but I'm doing some new research on the city's tax revenue and need some numbers. I think I'll end up having to contact City Hall but I fear they'll just blow me off or ask for a FOIA request.

I'm interested in what the residential exemption costs but also the other exemptions, deductions (old age, blind, etc.).

The point of the column I'll be writing is that one way to increase revenue next year, if we do in fact run a deficit, is to simply reduce the exemption amount or everyone or increase everyone's property tax (which I believe is below the 2.5% levy limit).

I'm also curious how well the city tracks residency / owner-occupancy. As far as I know, once your property qualifies, you never have to prove it again. Sweet!

If we tightened up the qualifications we could probably make some money that way, too.

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Cost is zero

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Literally (other than administration of course).

The "exemptions" are not actually exemptions at all. The only thing they do is serve to spread the taxes around - plus most people don't get anywhere near the benefit they think they do and for about 10% of homeowners it actually raises their taxes. Brief explanation:

In FY 2013 (most recent available - we are now in FY 2014), the total levy decided by formula was a bit shy of $1.7 billion.

Commercial properties, businesses, industries paid about 61% of the total or about $1 billion.

After they calculate that, residents pay the rest - or about $660 million. The total value of all the residential real estate in town was about $60 billion.

So - with no exemptions our rate would be $11 per thousand ($660 million/(60 billion/1000)). However, the actual rate per thousand is $13.14 after adjusting for the exemptions.

What that means is that those without the exemptions effectively pay some taxes on behalf of those with exemptions but the city still gets the same amount of money. The "exemption" value mostly gets made up for by landlords who don't qualify for any exemptions. As follows:

If you own a home you rent out assessed at $400k - if there were no exemptions and the rate were $11 per thousand, your taxes would be $4400. However, because the formula for exemptions raises the rate to $13 - you pay $5200 - effectively you pay $800 more so somebody else pays less, but there is no net "loss" to the city. Probably 80 -90% of the total value of the exemption to homeowners is paid for by landlords and the balance by owners of very expensive homes as follows:

A small amount of that exemption gets shifted to people who own more expensive homes - for example if you own a home worth $1 million and there were no exemptions, you would pay $11 per thousand or $11,000 in taxes. Instead you pay $13,000, less the value of your exemption (which was $1700 last year) meaning that you pay $11,300 - i.e. - your taxes go up by $300 and that increases by $2 per thousand of value over $1 million.

On the flip side, you of course do pay slightly lower taxes if you own a more modest home, but for most it's not worth the full exemption - for example if you own a home worth $400k you pay $4400 if the rate were not adjusted for exemptions. However, due to the higher rate you pay $400*13 = $5200 - less the exemption of $1700 results in a tax liability of $3500 - it only saves you $900 - not chicken feed - but not $1700. The breakeven is about $800k.

As for enforcement - I think the city does a pretty good job -but certainly not 100% - however, better enforcement only means that the taxes are more fairly distributed - it doesn't save the city any money.

The assessing office is very open - and very good to deal with. You can get a lot of info from the annual publications here:

Happy to chat any time here - or perhaps we can touch base outside this forum.

let me know if anything isn't clear.

The city could do an override as we are below the 2.5% maximum - but I don't see an override ever passing in Boston (our revenue per resident is among the highest in the state and among communities with populations over 50,000 second only behind Cambridge). I don't think the city wants to draw attention to how much and where we spend our money by putting up an override.

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Mostly makes sense

Thanks for the quick and detailed response.

I get what you're saying about the "no cost" to the city; as you point out, there's a real cost to some taxpayers, however.

I have all the facts and figures but some just don't make sense.

If you look at this chart from the 2013 report, it shows 2013, 2012, and 2011 figures.

The Commercial, Industrial, and Personal calculations work going straight across; the Residential doesn't, however.

If the Residential Total Value was $60,147,396,114 in 2013 then the Total Levy s/b $60,147,396.114 * 13.14 = $790,336,784.94. Instead, the report shows Residential Total Value of $659,303,136.

This calculation works for the other three property classifications.

I don't quite get why it's off. The report has the "Residential Exemption" amount right next to it - does it have to do with that?

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That's the residential exemption

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They are giving you the ACTUAL total assessed value for residential properties citywide. However - about $10 billion of that is tax exempt - so you can calculate the exemption from this as follows:

659,303,136/13.14*1000 = 50,175,276,712

Effectively - they net out all the exemptions (about $10 billion) and then they recalculate the rate to get to the total amount of taxes they are allowed to collect by statute.

Thus the residential exemption - isn't really a tax credit - effectively it's a way of "re-prorating" the taxes and shifting a little more of the burden onto anyone that isn't a homeowner, senior, veteran, blind etc.

To get to the total amount paid, you take the revised (post exemption) tax rate and then multiply it out to get to the taxes owed. Technically the city has the data to do this in reverse - which is the correct way - net out all the exemptions and THEN recalculate the rate - so I'm really just backing into it from the grossed up numbers they provide.

Steve W.

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Thanks for your help

Wonderful, that fills a gap in knowledge.

I see nothing but blue skies in our budgetary future!

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No problem

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You're kidding about the blue skies in our future though, aren't you?

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