November 29, 2012

Chamber of Commerce and Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association Reach Agreement on Taxes

WORCESTER – The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association announced today a joint position for the upcoming Worcester City Council Tax Classification hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 7 pm at Worcester City Hall.

In an effort to present a unified position and to mobilize the community as one, the Chamber and Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association, met to find common ground. Facing the reality of increasing tax bills, both sides sought to ease the burden as equally as possible. The newly minted collaboration is putting their collective support behind Line 185 from the tax table being considered at the hearing. Line 185 sets a residential tax rate of $18.58 and a commercial tax rate of $30.85, both representing a 4% increase to each tax class.

“I was happy to work with Gary on this issue and delighted that we could come to an amicable agreement,” stated Richard B. Kennedy, President and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This is a significant step in the direction of progress with the community, residents and businesses, working together to improve our city.”

“The Chamber has been a voice for businesses for many years, as I have tried to be a voice for the residents,” began Gary J. Vecchio, President of the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association. “Now, we can both be voices for the entire community of Worcester. This rate ensures that both sides share equally in helping to provide for the needs of City Government.”

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association each encourage their members to contact their city councilors and urge them to vote for Line 185.
Buoyed by the successful conversations between the Chamber of Commerce and the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association, several other groups have joined in the chorus of voices supporting the parity of Line 185. They are: the Worcester Citizens for Business; William T. Breault, Chair of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety; the Shrewsbury Street Merchants Association; Edith Morgan; the Webster Square Business Association; Leonard Ciuffredo; and James Magay of the Lincoln Street Area Business Association.


Jahn said...


Ya know, I like to call them as I see them and frankly I see this as aN unholy alliance between between community activists and community business men and business groups. TYpically community activists and community businesses are a world apart.

Ok, so all the parties have made a joint recommendation to the CC. Will the CC then defer to this alliance's recommendation and vote Line 185 or will the CC say, who the heck are these guys trying to usurp our authority and power (via a recommendation) to set tax rates? MY take has always been the politicians never like to cede power, have the appearance of ceding power, or let others grab the lime light when given an opportunity. SOme may even ask, If i dont like my tax or tax rates and the CC has followed the LIne 185 recommedantion then who do I complain to? This is also a great way for the CC to bob and weave away from what is essentially a large rise in total property taxes. CC will just say hey....the C. of C. and other assorted groups recommended it so we did it and go see Gary, Richard, et al if you have complaint

I am also not so sure how these diverse groups and people coming together and working together "improves our city". Financially? Demographically? Socially? Educationally? Surely they jest?

"This rate [line 185] ensures that both sides share equally in helping to provide for the needs of city government?"

I Disagree. Taxes provide for the needs of the entire city, not just the city government.

Both sides are also not sharing equally. A 4% increase in the business tax rate translates to approximately about $1.25 business tax rate increase. Meanwhile a 4% increase in the residential rate translates to approximately about a $.75 increse. Bottomline, the business rate increase is 67% more than the residentail rate increase ( $1.25/$.75), MMMMM....Sharing, parity, equality?

What no one asks is why we need to feed this city's insatiable appetite for more money when the private sector of the economy is hemmoraging. Why in Lords name is the city giving out pay increases when those of us in the private sector are out or work, having our wages cut, having our hours cut, and then being asked to feed more money to city personnel?

Jahn said...

After I posted the above last night, I got to thinking more and more about this situation.

The business community that has been seeking at least a move towards parity (a lessening of business tax rates) as regards city tax rates defines this as an accomplishment or an achievement?

Sorry, I just do not see getting in bed with the opposition and coming out with this end result as being anything but more downside for the business community's attempt at tax rate equality.

Let me use my McDonald's analogy once again. The residentail community goes to McDonalds and buys the $1.00 hamburg and then the businessman steps up to the McDonald's counter and has to pay $2.50 for the same hambuger. Then the resident & the businessman get together and decide to recommend to Mcdonalds, who is considering raising hamburger prices, that henceforth the resident will pay $1.04 for his hamburger and the business man will pay $2.60 for his hamburger, both increase being a 4% rise price

The real issue here is never addressed. A classic case of obfuscating the real problem(s).

The next city issue I'd like to see the C. of C. address is the problem of how many city workers are out on disablity. The Worc. Municipal Research Bureau has been raising this issue for years. A few years ago on Jordan's after noon drive a CC'or said that 600 city workers were out injured on duty. That was 12% of the city workforce. This is the private sector equivalent of an employee being out on workmens compensation, except the private sector employer does not get hosed to the extent that the city does.

NO entity, municipal or private, can survive with 12% of their workforce collecting money for not working.