Wu pushes property tax proposal and says she has hope in Parliament

Local news

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Tuesday defended her push to present town the authority to temporarily raise industrial property taxes, saying the thought has broad support and expressed hope that state lawmakers will approve it.

“My job is to say clearly what the city needs and then do everything in my power to make it happen,” Wu said during an apparition to GBHs “Boston Public Radio.”

In this case, Wu made these intentions clear back in April when she filed a house rule petition regarding the change. Residential property owners face potentially “dramatic” increases of their property taxes attributable to declining industrial values. The solution, Wu argued, is a five-year plan that calls for industrial tax increases of as much as 200% in the primary yr, followed by gradual reductions before current parameters are restored.

Private property owners may expect tax increases, however the goal is to present them a soft landing, say Wu and members of her administration who’ve been invited to talk to town council in recent weeks.

There has been fierce opposition from real estate and development groups who argue the plan would hurt small businesses and an industry facing its own massive challenges. Opponents say office buildings may very well be assessed at a lower value, leaving town with less tax revenue. City Councilman Ed Flynn, who voted against the plan, warned of the opportunity of an “urban vicious spiral” by which cuts to city services would cut back Boston's attractiveness and drive housing prices further down.

Despite the opposition, the measure passed the Boston City Council last week by an 8-4 vote. Now Wu must win over state lawmakers. The proposal's prospects on Beacon Hill are murky, and Wu has yet to present data and advocate for the plan within the State House, she said.

“I have not given up on the legislature,” Wu said on GBH.

She called her administration's approach “unorthodox” in its proactivity. Officials won't know until later this yr whether industrial property values ​​have fallen enough to make the change crucial.

“Things often happen in moments of extreme urgency,” Wu said. “We are unusually demanding this authority in advance of the potential emergency.”

The mayor echoed statements made by a lot of her allies on the City Council last week, saying it was necessary to present town a “tool” that may very well be used when needed.

“If all goes well, we won’t need this at all,” she said.

Wu also said she was “upset” by media coverage that portrayed the problem as a “controversial” proposal. She said she expected a public outcry from lobbyists, but that didn’t reflect widespread opposition.

“In fact, it hasn't been controversial in any of the neighborhoods or places I've talked about,” she said. “There are people whose job it is to lobby for the lowest corporate taxes possible. That's how they feed their own families. That's what they're always going to advocate for, no matter what impact that policy has on people other than the companies they represent.”

image credit : www.boston.com