Monday, April 14, 2008


The Sunday Freeman had an interesting Editorial regarding the City of Kingston’s Reval and the tax burden shift. The shift in question is from Commercial properties that bare a higher rate of taxation to the residential properties, which have been artificially low for decades.

We have a dual tax system that started out with a modest increase for non-homestead. Had the experiment run a few years and then stopped, we would have a lesser, but significant difference between the two that would still be tolerable today. So what happened?

The additional 4% difference in the tax increases for non-homestead was left to compound on top of already higher taxes. Twenty odd years later, you’ve got a huge disparity that needs a major correction.

What to do about it? With one third of the properties in Kingston paying twice the taxes per square foot as the other two, or 50% of the tax burden…you’ve got a recipe for economic disaster. Our commercial base is heading out of town. So let’s fix it.

Here we are in the middle of the big Reval that so many of our residents believe is a money making scheme for the city. Not true: all things being equal, we have the same $33 million budget the day after it’s voted on. The problem is, the shift in tax burden from Commercial to homestead was done as part of the equation when GAR Associates sent out the results. That’s where the Council comes in.

As the Freeman editorial staff indicated, the shift in the burden should be done gradually, like over three years and with the result of Commercial properties taxed at 125% of homestead. This would be 75% of the disparity modification favoring commercial, but in a timeframe easier on the taxpayers on fixed incomes and increased fuel prices. (some of us are lookin for work)

This is an issue that should have been handled during the Gallo Administration when the economy was in better shape. Since we cant alter the past, we attempt to change course. All a few of us Aldermen wanted was prior knowledge of the burden shift before the letters hit the street. Perhaps we weren’t supposed to know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am all for equal footing but a phased in approach is far better than a one shot deal.

....and while you guys are at this how about capping the bond limit so that Sottile does not keep going to our grandchildrens already dry "money" well.