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MA lawmakers take aim at property tax exemption for universi

 
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news



Joined: 14 Jul 2007
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Location: Greater Boston

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:03 pm GMT    Post subject: MA lawmakers take aim at property tax exemption for universi Reply with quote

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Description: MA lawmakers take aim at property tax exemption for universities
URL: http://www.wickedlocal.com/belmont/news/x12073540/Lawmakers-take-aim-at-property ...truncated...
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admin
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Joined: 14 Jul 2005
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Location: Greater Boston

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:11 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"Unlike many institutions of higher learning which behave responsibly toward their host communities ... Tufts [University] does not make payments in lieu of taxes to Somerville," said Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville), who said more than $300 million of property in her community is exempt from taxation.

Provost said state aid to her district was essentially "a subsidy to Tufts University and to our largest landowner, which is the MBTA."

"Tufts does not deserve this sort of subsidy," she added in testimony to the Revenue Committee.


Yikes. I don't have an opinion on whether the law should be changed or not, but this makes the current status quo sound like a protection racket, almost literally.

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balor123



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 2:27 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not like a university can move. Raising taxes just raises the tuition.
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john p



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:56 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the issue is:

If the University creates demand on local services, how do they pay for those local services? If they are not, aren't the local townspeople subsidizing them? Sure, there is a benefit of having them in town, but not all citizens benefit, and all citizens collectively pay the tab. Further, they could come up with a tax rate that is appropriate to the demand of services. I know golf courses pay a smaller fee for land because they don't demand the same from local services per acre than other businesses...

If the students are also enjoying the benefits of the local services, shouldn't they also have to pay vis-a-vis a premium in their tuition?
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balor123



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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 12:43 am GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think at this point there is much reason. Look at the cable companies. Initially they were offered monopolies to lure them in, since there was a large up front investment they would need to make. After they paid back their investment, there was little need to maintain it but the cable companies were used to the treatment and expected to keep it. They also realized that they could milk the system by throwing money at the city to keep it that way. This part of the country is especially wary of change, which allows problems like these to fester for decades.
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