[Summit] Fwd: Urgent: Immediate threat to East Side property taxes and home values

Greg Gerritt gerritt at mindspring.com
Mon Jun 10 17:19:56 CDT 2019


Mikaila, has much wisdom here.  greg 

 

From: Summit <summit-bounces at sna.providence.ri.us> on behalf of Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur <mmlarthur at gmail.com>
Date: Monday, June 10, 2019 at 6:16 PM
To: Summit Neighborhood <summit at sna.providence.ri.us>
Subject: Re: [Summit] Fwd: Urgent: Immediate threat to East Side property taxes and home values

 

People living in $1,000,000 houses are really not middle-class, at least in wealth terms. According to the Federal Reserve (https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/scf17.pdf), the median net worth of American families in 2016 was $97,300; for Blacks, it was $17,600 and for Latinos, $20,700. The median home value was $185,000 for those who own homes. The 50% exemption level, then, clearly encompasses the middle part of our wealth distribution. (For what it's worth, the median family income was $52,700.) Some of these values are a bit higher in Rhode Island--median household income in 2017, according to the Census Bureau, was $63,870, and the median home value was $257,800.  But Americans have an odd tendency to think they are middle-class even when they are actually far below or far above the median.

There is a real issue for people who have lived in a neighborhood for a very long time and who find values rising above what they can afford to pay, particularly seniors on fixed incomes. The right solution to this is not to avoid asking people to pay what their wealth means they should--it is to create a system of liens where those--especially seniors--who face getting priced out of their neighborhoods can continue to pay at a reasonable rate of increase and have the excess obtained by the city on the sale of the property after their death.

Those who complain about mediocre services need to realize that services cannot be better without more money. It costs money to fix sidewalks, to provide high-quality public schools, to ensure sufficient response time in cases of emergency, to protect our robust historical and cultural heritage, etc. The money needs to come from somewhere, and it should absolutely come in proportion to our ability to pay. Some parts of the world have instituted wealth taxes, which might be more fair than property taxes as the disparities in financial assets are far greater than those in property values. Some cities, like New York, have city income taxes, though those do not grapple with the fact that wealth inequality is far more extensive than income inequality. There are other ways to create more progressive and equitable taxation schemes besides this one, and all deserve exploration and analysis to see which can raise the most revenue the most fairly while still protecting those in gentrifying neighborhoods from displacement.

But we simply cannot demand high-quality city services and ensure that our city is a great place to live without asking that those of us who have economic privilege pay their fair share. The choice may be stark, but it is the choice we have: we craft a more equitable progressive tax structure and continue to have a diverse, exciting, welcoming city and maybe even improve our city services; we hold down taxes and end up with a city that cannot afford its schools or pot-hole-repair crews; or we increase taxes in a less-equitable fashion and end up like San Francisco, where long-time residents have no hope of affording to remain in their city (want to know more about this? Watch the new movie The Last Black Man in San Francisco--I hope none of us want that future for our city).

--Mikaila

On 6/10/2019 12:51 PM, James Kelley wrote:

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding here that California figured out and fixed. Rising property values don't mean that people's income or ability to pay taxes also increase. 

 

This is one reason why the people in our neighborhood may be more burdened. I'm going to guess that the increases in our property values and therefore our taxes have risen faster than our incomes (on average). This year, property values are increasing in other parts of the city which is terrific. This should allow equity and fairness to resume. 

 

The single most important task, IMO, that our City Council faces in the fairly near future is to keep Providence readily affordable for all citizens, equitably. This does not mean that people in our middle class neighborhood many with fixed incomes can support everybody more than we already have. I agree with the ward 1 and 2 councilors that John Igliozzi's proposal is unfair to us.

 

 

 

 

 

On Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 12:24 PM Robert Mathiesen <rmath13 at gmail.com> wrote:

I strongly agree with Nirva on this one, if she actually is for it.  (We'll see where she stands when she votes.)  

The single most important task, IMO, that our City Council faces in the fairly near future is to keep Providence readily affordable for the poorest residents to continue living in it.  This means forcing the upward rise in property values to stop cold in its tracks, no matter whom it screws over and what it costs the rest of us.  

 

A rising tide may lift all boats, but it drowns everyone who has no boats--and by far the majority of people on this planet, and a substantial part of the citizens in Providence, have no boats.  They don't even have life-vests.

 

Bob M

 

On Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 11:11 AM Christopher Buecheler <cwbuecheler at gmail.com> wrote:

"We already share a huge portion of the tax burden and get mediocre services in return"

 

So, I'll buy the mediocre services part, given that I've been asking for sidewalk repairs for six years and still haven't seen any ... but do we have any evidence that the east side bears proportionally more of the tax burden than anywhere else? I mean, I'm sure people in Blackstone pay more in total than a lot of other neighborhoods, because many of them own $1.5+ million homes, but simply paying more on larger and more extravagant properties is not really sharing a larger portion of the tax burden than those who pay less on smaller properties.

 

Are there data that suggest that the east side bears an undue tax burden in comparison to other parts of the city?

 

-Chris

 

 

 

On Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 10:37 AM Michael McGlynn <mmcglynn at gmail.com> wrote:

In case you haven’t seen this.

 

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Cheryl Simmons <cherylsimmons414.aol.com at mail.mailchimpapp.com>
Date: Sun, Jun 9, 2019 at 7:34 PM
Subject: Urgent: Immediate threat to East Side property taxes and home values
To: <mmcglynn at gmail.com>

 

Resident alert regarding serious issue which could impact East Side property taxes and home values:We have learned that Councilman John Igliozzi (Chair of the Finance Committee from Silver Lake) is working on a dramatic change to property taxes to slip into the budget at the list minute that will have a major impact on East Side property taxes.You may have read that properties values in the recent revaluation increased more dramatically (by percentage) in places other than the East Side. As a result of the 4% overall property tax cap, property taxes are going up elsewhere in the city faster than the East Side this year.In an attempt to cut taxes for their constituents and to stick it to the East Side, there is a move to go back to the old system of one rate and a homestead exemption. However, they are planning on phasing out the homestead exemption based on a houses value. While the details are still secret, this is how we hear it will work:The current proposed owner-occupied rate is $15.35. Under this new plan, the rate would be something like $30.70, but owner occupants would get a 50% discount (aka homestead exemption). However, they are now proposing to make that exemption variable based on house value, so, for example, the exemption could work like this:House Value                       Exemption$0 – 250,000                       50%$250,000 – 500,000         40%$500,000 – 750,000         30%750,000 – 1,000,000        20%$1,000,000 +                      10%The City law department is supposedly researching this but can’t say that it's illegal. The Mayor is apparently undecided on whether he supports the plan or not. Council President Sabina Matos is apparently going along with it.  Our East Side council people know. Helen Anthony and Seth Yurdin are opposed. Nirva LaFortune is said to be for it.We need to activate the East Side immediately. The budget must be approved by July 1, but could be passed anytime.We need all our neighbors to call the folks below and let their voices be heard. Enough is enough. We already share a huge portion of the tax burden and get mediocre services in return. Were this to pass we would see an immediate negative impact on our property values.Mayor Elorza’s Office – 401-421-2489City Council’s Office – 401-521-7477Council President Sabina Matos (Olneyville, Silver Lake, Valley) – 401-400-1315Councilman Seth Yurdin (Fox Point) – 401-484-7207Councilwoman Helen Anthony (College Hill, Blackstone, Wayland) – does not publish her phone, but email is helen at helenanthony.comCouncilwoman Nirva LaFortune (Blackstone, Summit, Mount Hope) – 401-680-0252


 
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Thank You,
Michael McGlynn

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-- 

Christopher Buecheler - @cwbuecheler
http://cwbuecheler.com | Web, Writing, Cocktails and More

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-- 
Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur
mmlarthur at gmail.com

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