September 03, 2010

Mayor's Task Force on Job Growth & Business Retention

Click here.    I have had a chance to flip through it and discuss it this morning.  There are basically 4 parts:

  1. Municipal Staffing and Organization
  2. Promoting a Fair and Equitable Taxation System
  3. Business Incentives
  4. Branding & Marketing
We need to increase our commercial tax base, we all know that.  Over the last 25 years, since the adoption of the dual tax rate, the value of the commercial/industrial portion of the tax base has declined from 35% to 19% 

Looking at the 4 categories, the emphasize should be place on #3--Business Incentives.    Go to existing businesses waive their permitting fees for any expansion, water/sewer connection fees, lock in assessed values for a certain period of time (Philadelphia Plan).   I also like #1 alot---Municipal Staffing and operations.  As far as #4) --Branding & Marketing?   If we do #1 and #3 correctly, the city will market itself.  Word will get out that Worcester is a place that welcomes business. 

I have a problem with #2.  Although we need to close the gap between Residential-Commercial tax rates, we need to close the gap by increasing the commercial tax base by following the recommnendations laid out in #1 and #3 and the gap will close all by itself.     Attempting to merely set the rates to close the existing gap, for example, 50% over 3 years, will never happen politically nor do I think it would attract the corresponding commercial growth as much as the other recommendations.

Lastly taxing 4+ units commercially will 1) never get approved on the state level and 2) is a horrible idea, sorry. .   We want to be attracting residential development not scaring them away with the possibility of a commercial tax rate.   Wonder how the owner of the Mayo Group feels about that idea?

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