State aid to be tied to tax rate?

In the game of taxes – especially during an election year – no politician wants to be the one that will make a move that will be perceived as the most taxpayer unfriendly.  Thus, the majority of Worcester city councilors have already indicated they will vote for the lowest possible residential property tax rate later this fall and have called on the state to do more to help the city in the way of aid.

But state legislators have privately and publicly complained about the lack of action from the city council, even as they passed the sales tax increase yesterday.

Now, the latest in the gamesmanship between city and state pols is word that state legislators are considering penalizing the few commonwealth communities -Worcester included – that don’t tax to the so-called limit.

State Representative Vincent Pedone says, “There’s serious discussion in Boston that ties additional state aid to levy limits. I don’t think that’s good policy or practice, but the reality of the situation is that it is being discussed.”

That move could theoretically force councilors’ hands to vote on a higher rate, though it would allow them to point the finger at the House and Senate.

More on this story in this week’s Worcester Magazine.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “State aid to be tied to tax rate?

  1. I actually think that’s fair. Local politicians shouldn’t push their budgetary problems to the state level. Either increase taxes or cut spending. Don’t expect the state to bail you out.

  2. MK

    It’s becoming clear that a State House full of lawyers is pretty inept at economics.

  3. I’m with you, Jim. It’s easy to be a local official and say “we won’t raise your taxes” and then turn around and say to the state, “where’s our money? why don’t you raise taxes?”

    Sometimes the city has to do the hard part.

  4. Harry Truman is one of my favorite Presidents. “The buck stops here.”

  5. Virginia Ryan

    This city did not reach $12 million below maximum last year. The present deficit in the budget should have been addressed many years ago. We I read that most of the present city councilors have called for the lowest property rate in the city I cringe. If we want the city services we have to pay for them. The state doesn’t have the money coming in. Rep. Vincent Pedones’statement that Worcester is only one of three MA communities under the maximum state levy tells me that the city councilors don’t want to make the difficult decision and raise property taxes. At least the city manager has suggested a tax increase might be in order.
    Why is this City Council not adopting Section 19?
    The city unions have wanted it for over three years and Worcester retirees as well. The city could realize millions in savings as have the other cities and towns in MA who have adopted Section 19.
    It is a disgrace that the public health department has been decimated especially with swine flu pandemic coming. Raise the taxes and get the city services back.
    Beware of any city councilor asking for the same old thing, namely, PILOT, more state funding, and the lowest residential property tax.

  6. Beware of people spreading misinformation and twisted facts eh Virginia?
    The only way to cover the deficit is to spend less or tax more. So introduce PILOT, or charge colleges for city services. Then cut police and fire personnel. Then cut WPD & City Hall salaries. Then change form of city government – throwing out the council. They’re overhead anyway.
    Ya see it’s not that hard is it?
    WWW for dictator!

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