May 24, 2018

Chamber: Worcester lost nearly 500 manufacturing jobs due to tax rate

File photo
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Timothy Murray.

With Worcester set to lose more than 460 manufacturing jobs in a three-year span, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce is once again calling for the City Council to reduce the burden on commercial taxpayers.

In the chamber's monthly newspaper, the Chamber Exchange, President and CEO Timothy Murray cited the 2017 departure of utility vehicle cab manufacturer Curtis Industries, which took 125 jobs from Worcester to West Boylston.

Earlier this year, metals manufacturer Primetals said it will leave its longtime Worcester home for a brand new facility in Sutton.

"As a regional chamber of commerce, we are grateful those jobs are remaining in Central Massachusetts," Murray wrote. "However, we are concerned about the disincentive for many businesses to reinvest in their Worcester properties because of a tax policy trend that has moved towards taxing Worcester businesses to the max by a majority of the Worcester City Council."

The City Council this year voted to increase the commercial tax rate by 3.3 percent to $34.03 per $1,000 of valuation, substantially more than the $18.45 in West Boylston and $16.55 in Sutton. Unlike those other communities, Worcester has a split tax rate for its commercial and residential taxpayers; residential property owners in Worcester pay $18.91, which was a 1.6-percent decrease from the year before.

Neighborhood businesses will also feel the impact of the nearly 500 employees leaving the city, Murray said.

"Local Worcester businesses such as coffee and pizza shops, dry cleaners, convenience stores, restaurants, mechanics, etc. will lose business because of these relocation decisions," he wrote.

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