December 6, 2017

Worcester increases tax burden on businesses

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

Despite urging from the business community and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City Council on Tuesday night adopted tax rates shifting more of the tax burden to commercial properties.

The Council voted 6-4 to set the rate at $18.91 per $1,000 valuation for residential taxpayers, and $34.03 for commercial taxpayers.

The current tax rate is $19.22 for residential and $32.93 for commercial.

The new rates result in average tax bill increases of $118 for single-family residential payers and $331 for commercial payers. Residential rates increase due to rising assessments for residential properties.

The chamber last month was actively pushing for a tax rate to limit the burden to commercial taxpayers: $32.94 for commercial payers and $19.43 for residential payers.

That rate would have raised tax bills by $202 for residential taxpayers and just $10 for commercial taxpayers.

"It was unfortunate that a majority of councilors continued to move towards the highest commercial/industrial tax rate," said W. Stuart Loosemore, general counsel and director of government affairs and public policy for the Chamber. "This vote undermines the economic development momentum currently underway in the City of Worcester and will have a disproportionate impact on small businesses and their ability to create jobs. We do appreciate those Councilors who wanted to set a more fair and equitable tax rate."


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