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Mayor comes out for property-tax increase to help fund affordable housing, park improvements

Mayor Walsh said today he'll back a referendum on the November ballot to levy a surcharge on property taxes that could mean $16.5 million a year to help build affordable housing and spruce up and expand Boston parklands - plus additional matching funds from the state.

In a statement, Walsh said:

Our city is growing and thriving, but success has brought challenges-housing costs being one of the greatest. We've studied the impacts and benefits, and I believe the Community Preservation Act offers a balanced and timely strategy for helping Boston build affordable housing, invest in our parks, and preserve Boston's historic and inclusive character. I thank the City Council for taking this up, and look forward to working with them and our community partners in support of the Community Preservation Act.

The City Council is currently considering a proposal for a 1% surcharge that could go before voters this fall. Officials estimate that if voters approve, the average home's property tax would increase by $28 a year.

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Sure, I'll gladly pay an extra $28 - or $280, for that matter. But paying for artificially inflating housing prices and ensuring all relatives of BRA bigshits get a million dollar condo for under 200k? I don't think so!

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I no longer see yesterday's UH story about allegation of violent threats by a union and BRA official. Was the story in error, or is this another of the recent caching problems?

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The story got pushed off the home page and onto the second page of stories because I was just writing posts like nobody's business yesterday. Here it is.

The search box usually works pretty well to find stuff - it's Google, just limited to stuff specifically on UHub (so if you search on BRA, you should just get stuff about, well, the BRA and not undergarments).

As far as I can tell, the caching issue only affects comments, not the posts they go with.

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Before every household making less than $100K a year can't afford to live in Boston anymore.

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No?

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Nothing says affordability like taking more money out of the pockets of the middle class.

Boston will take their dollars rub them together and magically make them worth more! After a few bucks taken out for administration costs of course.

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Middle class is barely hanging on (many have already left), and taxes (and rents) are supposed to go up *further*? To support Affordable Housing, for the crony-connected and for political bone-tossing to voting blocs?

Nice try, but Affordable Housing handouts and scams won't make people forget the federal corruption investigation on other matters.

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...add another few million.

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When you give corporate welfare and Free Rent to GE somebody has make that up! Worst Mayor ever!

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When it comes to corporate welfare Menino makes Walsh look like scrooge.

But interesting point. GE gets $1 million a year break but they want us to pony up $16 mil. Interesting logic.

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When it comes to corporate welfare Menino makes Walsh look like scrooge.

Menino had many more years at that game. Give Marty time, he's just getting started.

(although given the way he sucked up to the Clintons during the Democratic primary, who knows, maybe Hillary will win and he'll get pensioned off to the Vatican)

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What I don't understand is, why not just reduce the residential exemption (on your property tax bill), or simply raise property taxes? Because you'd have to get an exemption? Because owner-occupied unit owners wouldn't let it happen?

CPA just seems to be a backdoor way to raise money because no one (no politician) is willing to take an unpopular position.

Is that all that is happening here or should I / we support the proposal?

*edited

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How about we lower taxes on owner-occupied units as is or even lower it and raise them for all the absentee slumlords who own multiple units?

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Aren't you running for register of deeds? You should know the answer to that.

Here's how the math has been estimated:

Boston collects ~$13MM in extra property taxes. Boston can take that amount and the money paid into linkage fees and go to the state and get their share of the CPA matching funds, which would be ~$7MM.

Where do the CPA matching funds come from? Fees at the registry of deeds (hence why you should know this). Currently, Boston residents pay fees at the registry of deeds that go to projects in other cities. This is all about getting Boston's share of that money to be spent in Boston.

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Sorry, I was unclear in my question.

Why doesn't the city raise property taxes instead of going through this effort, was what I was asking.

And my question was partly in jest and to make a point: no one's willing to risk their political careers on making difficult / unpopular decisions.

It's a "backdoor" attempt to get more money. Like, who could be against parks?

And, it's a "backdoor" tax on property owners, not just commercial owners but regular residents, too, but "it's just $28 for the typical homeowner".

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For every time a pol said "for the price of a cup of coffee" I could buy Starbuck. Not one location, the whole company.

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It's easy for them, because they never actually "buy" a cup of coffee, their campaign contributions buy their coffee everyday.

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get fair market rate for Winthrop Sq Garage and call it a day. I love how there is money up for grabs just lying on the ground next to the panhandler and the city's solution is to reach into the guys cup instead of bending down to pick up the change.

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Because that money is pennies compared to the property tax that it will generate every year, which for 10+ years has been nothing due to it being a condemned garage? That the site is extremely expensive to develop on due to having to first demolish what is in essence a concrete bunker? Because most of the proposals have a ton thrown in as extras for things like affordable housing, schools, and public spaces?

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for 2 years, maybe 3. My company maintained their parking equipment. If you wanna know where all their money went look to their former employees, who likely drive around BMWs and Benzos on parking attendant wages. Parking industry is rife with theft, and pretty sure that garage was all cash transactions.
The parcel is worth tens of millions, about what they are quoting they want to raise by hiking my property tax. Meanwhile they are gonna let the BRA undersell it, pocket the lion's share from the sale, then throw the taxpayers some crumbs. Its laughable.

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Start by eliminating the "chief resilience officer" and all the other "officers" with six figure salaries whose titles sound like they came straight from Jesse Jackson's Shakedown For Dummies book.

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in spades

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Better yet, start by coming up with a list of "officers" whose six-figure salaries are actually paid for by the City, i.e. not the CRO, which is funded via the Rockefeller Foundation.

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Replace the "Chief resiliency officer" with "chief diversity officer". Maybe even throw in the Deputy Chief diversity officer.

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Build more housing. Because housing is better for Boston than burned out abandoned factories.

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of raising property taxes to fund affordable housing.

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More facts, less knee-jerk:

http://www.communitypreservation.org/content/cpa-overview

160 Massachusetts communities (45% of them) have earmarked $1.6 billion for parks, affordable housing and historic preservation since Cellucci signed the CPA in 2000.

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Sorry, but the wealthy towns aren't using CPA to build affordable housing. They are using CPA to buy up greenspace to prevent housing construction. Leaving it to Bostonians to tax themselves to provide more of the affordable housing Boston already provides because wealthy towns won't. (Just drive through Dover this week and count all the mansions displaying signs against a rail trail through Dover for cripes sake. Dover votes on Tuesday, May 2. Just wait.)

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Build luxury housing the average person can't afford: Tax cuts galore!
Average person fortunate enough to own a home? You get to pay for affordable housing!

This city's leadership is a joke.

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And the voters are the punchline.

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We have more housing in the city, worth more than it used to be.

Even without a tax rate increase or surcharge, shouldn't that mean more money coming in than previously?

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This is just another scam being played on the suckers who keep voting for corrupt politicians. It's another way to get us to pay for their pet projects. The funds raised by this tax increase is supposedly earmarked for a limited number of uses. Let's say it can be used to spruce up the parks. The parks department will short its budget by X amount of dollars. X number of dollars cut from the park budget gets made up for with the funds from the tax increase. The X dollars saved now gets funneled to the mayor/city council's pet project, likely to be another failed drug recovery program or more condos to keep their rich, out-of-town donors driving nice cars. This tax increase on top of the tax increase, coming out of the city council, that is levied when you order a glass of wine with your meal, in addition to the fees and fines that are continually being increased are starting to add up. The end goal is to drive what's left of the middle class out of Boston so they can totally take the neighborhood's over with little resistance from the temporary, transient population that will reside here. Then they can re-zone, redevelop, raise building height limits, and alter the building codes to the specifications of the developers who line their pockets. The only people left will be those who depend on the government for their daily hand-out and those who can afford the million dollar condo in which to put their feet up for a while. This has gone on too long. Where is the FBI? They should be digging into these politicians, developers, and the bagmen (lobbyists and "strategies" companies) to find out exactly how much corruption there is.

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part of a federal investigation. Allegedly, he was caught saying some pretty shady stuff on a wiretap.

Innocent, etc. and all, but I believe it. I also believe nothing will come of it.

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