November 21, 2017

Chamber endorses lessening Worcester commercial tax burden

Grant Welker
Worcester City Hall as seen from Allen Court across Franklin Street.

As it has done for the last seven years, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling for the City Council to adopt a tax rate to help reduce the gap between commercial and residential tax payments.

The chamber is endorsing a line in the city's fiscal 2018 tax table to set the rate at $19.43 for residential taxpayers and $32.94 for commercial taxpayers, resulting in a median tax bill increase of $202 for residential taxpayers and $10 for commercial taxpayers.

The tax rate for fiscal 2017 is currently $19.22 for residential taxpayers and $32.93 for commercial taxpayers.

The council is expected to vote on the tax rate on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

"It is bad economic development policy to create a system that disproportionately targets the business community while giving a discount to the residents," said Stuart Loosemore, general counsel and director of government affairs and public policy for the chamber. "This inequitable tax policy puts Worcester businesses at a disadvantage when competing against businesses in neighboring communities."

Auburn and Webster have taken steps to close those tax gaps by either reducing the gap or holding steady. Additionally, Webster selectmen said they intend to adopt a single-tax rate next year after years of closing the gap, the chamber said.

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