An Open Letter to Southborough’s Select Board: Your Single Tax Rate Policy is Unfair
Dear Select Board,
I am writing to express my disappointment in your recent decision to maintain a high real estate tax rate for residential property owners in Southborough. As an expert in law and taxation, I believe that your insistence on pursuing a single tax rate policy is both misguided and unfair. In this letter, I will explain why your policy is harming residents and offer solutions that could address the imbalance.
In Southborough, the 2023 residential tax rate is higher than 87% of the residential property in the state, while the commercial tax rate is higher than just 29% of the commercial property in the state. This is an 87/29 loading imbalance that unfairly burdens residential property owners. Many would suggest that Southborough spends too much money creating high real estate tax rates, but this is not true. If Southborough had maintained its previous implementation of a split tax rate, the residential tax rate would likely be just slightly higher than the state average, reducing the average annual tax bill by between $1,500 and $2,000. The commercial tax rate would also be a fair burden, just above average like the residential rate would be.
The Real Culprit
The problem is not excessive spending at Town Meeting, as you might have suggested, but rather an antiquated single tax rate policy that is no longer effective. In fact, 80% of the commercial property in the state is not taxed with a single rate policy, so why does Southborough insist on doing so? This pursuit of a mythical miracle is doing more harm than good and has led to a situation that will take years to unwind. State law protects commercial property owners from any rapid correction to the current condition, which only puts a greater burden on residential owners.
I urge you to reconsider your single tax rate policy and work towards a more just and fair approach. Implementing a split tax rate would be a good start and could dramatically reduce the average annual tax bill for residential property owners. We need to keep in mind that state law does not allow for Mulligans, and any delay in addressing this issue will only result in more costs for residents.
In conclusion, I implore you to rethink your policies and work towards a more balanced and fair approach. By doing so, you will not only benefit residents, but also help create a thriving and equitable community in Southborough.
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