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In the News

Homeowners win another Tom Quinn round in tax rate debate

The homeowners appear to be gaining power, as for the second year in a row, the City Council shifted responsibility for the city’s property tax fulfillment to businesses – this time with a wider margin of victory. The impact for everyone will be lessened, though, by a budget maneuver that will alter previously conservative projections from another revenue stream, saving the city’s taxpayers, collectively, nearly a half-million dollars this year.

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Research Bureau focuses on risks of increasing revenue estimates

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau has weighed in on a budget maneuver that would save taxpayers money this year by increasing the optimism of revenue estimates, saying “past performance is not an indicator of future success” and urging caution when assuming local receipts will continue to remain high.

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Clive McFarlane: Single tax-rate debate takes dual paths

Given the timbre of our politics during President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, it is not news to most of us that the communal spirit necessary for a democratically elected body to govern responsibly has been hijacked by selfishness and personal agendas.

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Gaffney offers way out of annual tax classification boondoggle

Is Worcester’s business community in a tailspin, with companies abandoning the city in droves for greener pastures? Or is that something people only bring up once a year to try to get a better commercial tax rate? And do tax rates have to go up at all? All those questions and more were left unanswered by the City Council when they requested numbers for an alternate way to meet the city’s revenue needs and pushed a tax classification vote off by a week.

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From the Right: Roberta Schaefer — Death to the dual tax rate

In 1984, the Commonwealth approved legislation allowing cities and towns to adopt different property tax rates for different classes of property: commercial/industrial/personal (CIP), residential, and open space. Worcester was one of the first communities to adopt this “local option.” Its effect over more than three decades, according to The Research Bureau’s latest report, has been that “business owners have subsidized Worcester’s residential taxpayers to the tune of more that $650 million.” Is this arrangement beneficial for Worcester?

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Clive McFarlane: Worcester trying to balance tax options

The Worcester Research Bureau backs a single tax rate for the city’s commercial and residential properties. If you are looking to develop a business in the city, or to relocate one here, that proposed tax initiative should be appealing. That is the case the Research Bureau makes in a November report titled “Tax Classification: Passing the Buck$.”

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Worcester’s split tax rate doesn’t add up

A few weeks before the Worcester City Council goes into its annual exercise of setting the property tax rates, the Worcester Regional Research Bureau released a report in mid-November detailing the pitfalls of the city’s split rates for residential and commercial payors, a system first introduced in 1984 as a response to Proposition 2 ½.
The report “Tax Classification: Passing the Buck$” makes a strong case for a single tax rate.

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