Our View of the Times – January 15

On January 15, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

powderhouse_viewThe surprise spike in commercial property tax bills, in some cases increasing anywhere from 50 to over 100 percent, is less likely to have a trickle-down effect on businesses and their customers and could be more like the economic equivalent of standing at the base of Niagara Falls as property owners pass on the increase that probably seemed like a joke – a cruel one at that – when they opened their bill from the city.

Whether it’s a bubble bursting or an area such as Davis Square being a victim of its own success, the fallout from the increased valuations could either show up on menus as $15 diet Cokes or, in a worst-case scenario, a rash of restaurants closing up.

A row of empty storefronts would certainly be “self-corrective” in bringing values back down to rational levels. Hopefully, though, that vision turns out to be more Henny-Penny thinking than prophecy.

The shock to commercial property owners more than likely foreshadows what could be a truly devastating and over-the-top jump in home valuations, effectively squashing the idea that the city, or at least the majority of it, can in any way be considered affordable to anyone other than people who have no problem, either financially or philosophically, paying ridiculous sums for either housing or a cup of coffee (or whatever chai, espresso, latte beverage they prefer).

The Chamber of Commerce should be advocating on behalf of the business owners who are caught between honoring their leases and pleasing their customers, and hopefully it steps up and does so soon. Otherwise, we all will pay.

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3 Responses to “Our View of the Times – January 15”

  1. A.Moore says:

    This is the result of all that new development that is going to generate more revenue in the city? How nice is this for the little guy just about getting by. I am sure Tufts will be glad to pick up the slack.

  2. wth says:

    Let’s also remember that many homeowners were hit recently with large property tax increases. Yes, after the mayor proclaimed that the tax rate was going down. What he didn’t say, but most of us knew, was that the value of the property would go up, hence a net increase in taxes. But if you sell and move because you can’t afford the taxes you are ‘cashing in’.

  3. ritepride says:

    Yup, P.T. Barnum will be honored with Sainthood as he’s being replaced by Super Con Man “Lego Joe”. Who keeps spouting untruths to the residents and business owners in Somerville, my tax bill is up about $500 per qtr…..Thus I’ll be paying $2000 more in taxes.

    Now there were massive job cuts with Prop 2.5 and then there were more job cuts after that Fire/Police/DPW personnel/equipment cut. Then 7 fire stations, now 5 fire stations, down personnel, down 2 engines (#4 & #5) down 1 ladder (#4) truck. where did all the money saved go….into the mayors/BOA pockets cause they just dump on the residents to fill their coffers. All these needless outside consultant/contractors/hack hirings. Planning/Development for the future and they cannot straighten out the mess they have now.

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